Businesses and people in Angus are set to benefit from greater digital accessibility as work on a new connectivity network gets underway.

Angus Council is building a “core infrastructure” of fixed radio masts that will provide stronger connectivity to remote and rural properties via wireless solutions.

Funded by the Tay Cities Region Deal, it is hoped the new network will fuel the development of businesses across the region and boost the local economy.

The local authority is working with telecoms contractor Rapier Systems to implement the masts, the first of which was installed on an Abroath farm this morning.

Councillor David Fairweather, Angus Council leader, said: “Connectivity is a vital part of how businesses across Angus improve productivity, unleash new and innovative businesses processes and open up new opportunities and markets.

“We view our commitment to investing in digital infrastructure as being as vital to economic growth, and equally important as the physical infrastructure of our roads, rail and buildings. Our commitment to ensuring digital is at the heart of everything that we do, ensures that we will continue to deliver an inclusive economic growth, reform our public services and prepare our children for the workplace of the future.”

Angus Council has partnered with connectivity firm SmartRural to accelerate the digitisation of the region by trialing and delivering a range of innovative use cases using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

It will also provide internet service providers to deliver “superfast broadband” to rural residences and businesses

Initial trials will see Network Rail, Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN), and other rural infrastructure owners and operators, explore the use of sensor technology and IoT devices to monitor, manage and extract real time, insightful data.

According to the council, the data will transform its operations, creating safer, more productive communities and environments and help it to deliver sustainable energy saving solutions, whilst taking steps towards ‘net zero’.

Paul Lindop, project director at SmartRural said: “Angus is at the forefront of trialling and delivering a whole range of rural use cases supporting the digitisation of rural Scotland – from agriculture to rail infrastructure; from tourist locations to power network operations.

“We are extremely pleased to see that SSEN are already using SmartRural’s LoRaWAN network to perform field trials of devices that could potentially form part of their future smart grid, delivering decarbonisation of transport and heating for rural areas. We look forward to seeing other parties come forward and use this unique rural asset that Angus Council have created.”