Probe promised into broadband mystery

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HAVING no broadband is like having no water coming out of the tap, according to a Ewes resident.

Ricky Henderson has complained that the valley was firstly promised broadband by September 2016 and then it was September 2016. It was now March 2017 and nothing had happened.

Langholm now had superfast broadband and it was as though Ewes had been forgotten about.

Mr Henderson told Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council that his daughter, Molly's homework was online and she could not do it.

He said: "The annoying thing for me is that we fought for this for the Ewes valley and we got £60,000 to install temporary broadband until the work was done.

"The £60,000 has gone into thin air without any temporary broadband delivered to anyone. Where has it gone? Why am I still waiting in March 2017 when it should have been delivered last September.

"By the time it does come, it'll be another six months and it'll be the end of 2017. I'm at a loss with it. I'm only three miles out of Langholm. I'd rather have anything than nothing. It's like not having water coming out of your tap."

He said the only alternative was satellite broadband which cost £1,500 to buy and £50 a month to run.

George Turner, treasurer, said the council was asked to put the money into its account but it was never paid in. The money was to pay the contractor to do the work.

Margaret Sanderson, chairwoman, said the council was told that nothing was happening when it asked. She suggested that Stuart Hamilton, Annandale East and Eskdale ward worker, could help.

She said: "I hope you can make progress because it is very frustrating."

Councillors Archie Drybugh and Craig Peacock said they would also see what they could do to help.

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In the Borders Calum Kerr, Liddesdale's MP, has called for communities to engage with a community-owned fibre broadband scheme currently delivering the world’s fastest rural broadband in Lancashire.

After an enthusiastic reception at the Borders Digital Forum last December, the MP hosted a workshop with Barry Forde, chief executive of Broadband for Rural North (B4RN) to explore the B4RN model in more detail.

Several community councils attended the event which delved into how the scheme, based on a not-for-profit community share model, could be rolled out to the most rural communities. Talks are underway between B4RN and the MP’s office to launch a pilot scheme.

Mr Kerr said: “The Scottish government is delivering universal superfast broadband by 2021 but I want the Borders to get ahead and find its own regional solution to deliver the world-class connectivity we deserve.

“The B4RN model has the potential to do that. With 1GB upload and download speeds and unlimited downloads, it’s a grassroots way of fixing the rural connectivity challenge for a generation.”

Unlike most commercial providers, B4RN deploys state of the art fibre cables directly to the premises.

For more information ring Mr Kerr's office on 01896 750820.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:12AM
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