COMMUNITIES in the Borders are set to benefit from improved mobile coverage thanks to upgrades through the Shared Rural Network (SRN).

A £1bn initiative between mobile network operatords and the government, the SRN aims to bridge the gap between areas with reliable 4G coverage and those that don't.

Thanks to the latest works by the SRN, coverage for four major network operators – Virgin Media O2, Three, EE, and Vodafone – across the south of Scotland will increase to by 26 per cent to a minimum of 81 per cent coverage by June (up from 55 per cent).

Borders MP John Lamont, who recently visited a mast in Denholm, has welcomed the vital investment in the region's mobile network.

He said: “This significant investment to upgrade the mobile network is fantastic news for people across the Scottish Borders. These new masts will boost connectivity and help more people to get better mobile coverage.

“The Shared Rural Network is a great UK initiative that will transform mobile coverage for local people and businesses.”

Across Scotland the coverage from the four operators will increase to 74 per cent, up from just 44 per cent.

Bruce Ferguson, mobile network delivery manager at Virgin Media O2, said: “We’re continuing to deliver on our mission to upgrade the UK, investing billions of pounds in our networks to enhance the services we offer our customers – especially in rural areas where improvements are desperately needed.

“Through the Shared Rural Network, we’re working closely with government and industry to bridge the digital divide and transform connectivity for local businesses, residents and tourists in rural areas, allowing them to get online more easily than ever before.

"With more sites being upgraded and built throughout the year, people in rural Scotland will soon benefit from greatly improved mobile services.”