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Scotlands Borders Region Seeks to Have Best Rural UK Broadband by 2020

Posted: 23rd Jul, 2010 By: MarkJ
scotland uk regions mapThe MSP for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale, Jeremy Purvis (Scottish Liberal Democrats), has once again moved to promote his recently launched action plan - 'A Digital Strategy for the Borders' (PDF) - that seeks to make the Borders region into the most "connected rural region in Scotland by 2015 and the UK by 2020".

The document itself was authored in June 2010 and is thus a little out of step with recent broadband policy changes by the UK government. For example, the new and still somewhat sparsely detailed "super-fast" broadband target is 2015 and not 2017, while the 2Mbps USC, which Purvis's strategy believes to be already out of date, has also been delayed from 2012 to 2015.

The document itself opens by claiming that the bandwidth required to support a "basic mix of current generation and next generation applications" will, for many households, exceed 10Mbit/s by 2012. It later suggests that the Borders region should seek to deliver broadband internet speeds of at least 20Mbps by 2017, for all users.

Jeremy Purvis told the Southern Reporter:

"It is totally unacceptable, and extremely bad for the economy if almost half the entire population of the region would be excluded from the higher broadband speeds up to 2017.

The meeting by the UK Government and operators (last week) is a positive move and I am also making contact with them about a combined effort to put forward a market-led solution for delivery. That should be used as the basis to lobby the government for specific support for the region."

Purvis has also called on the Scottish Border Council, telecoms companies, ISPs and other stakeholder groups to fall behind his plan and help supply better broadband to households and businesses along the Borders region.

scotland_uk_broadband_risk_statistics.gif

The plan suggests some ways in which its goals could be achieved, such as by helping existing homes improve their telephone wiring to remove interference (better speeds), extending existing FREE Wi-Fi (wireless broadband) networks and supporting the rollout of faster Mobile Broadband services. As with most strategy documents it is more about raising awareness than proposing detailed solutions.
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