Persistence pays off for Southdean residents as broadband is improved

Engineers pay a visit to Chesters to repair faulty lines.
Engineers pay a visit to Chesters to repair faulty lines.

Chesters and Southdean residents are back in communicado after weeks of intermittent broadband connectivity.

The area was left with an almost nonexistent connection after an already poor internet connection diminished from the start of the new year.

For the last six weeks villagers have been, at times, unable to send a simple email from their homes, repying instead on picking up internet on visits into town.

But after lobbying local politicians, BT and submitting a lengthy response to the digital connectivity sub-committee at Westminster, their persistence was rewarded with a visit from broadband engineers last week.

Southdean Community Council member Caroline Smith raised the problem with John Lamont, MP Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk earlier this month. Since the visit her home broadband speed increased from just 0.5Mb on a good day, to above 3Mb.

She said: “Faults were found in overhead cabling, probably caused by being caught by high vehicles, and repaired or replaced.

“Openreach engineers spent considerable time and seemed to be very thorough. We are on the whole very pleased, up to a point.

“It transpires that some loss of broadband is a result of old internal wiring and superfluous sockets within a household.

“Internal wiring is the householders responsibility. The removal of this and replacement of the rather elderly home hub resulted that our own broadband speed improved.”

However, her campaign for the essential service to be improved goes on, and the community council will continue to push for an improved service for the whole area.

“Things are improved to the best it can be, here in the village, we are told.

“However, further up the village the available speed drops to 2.8Mb or less, because they are even further from the exchange.

“The countryside needs broadband as much as the towns in order to function in the modern world.

“At the moment we are unclear as to whether we will be upgraded later in 2018, or will have to wait until 2020 - or even apply for grants to pay for satellite facilities.

“It is the countryside that feeds the towns and cities, that attracts tourists to boost trade on the high streets. We need to be able to function properly.”