A plan to increase and improve mobile coverage in Scotland has been agreed with mobile operators, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Connectivity Fergus Ewing has announced. He said the Scottish Government will work with operators to maximise commercial investment in 4G mobile and to support 5G-ready infrastructure.
Ensuring 5G connectivity ‘is a priority’
“Ensuring high quality digital connectivity for people across Scotland is a priority for the Scottish Government,” said Ewing. “That is why we are doing everything we can to improve the case for investment in Scotland, despite this being the responsibility of the UK Government.
“We have set out an ambition for the availability of world class digital connectivity across the country, and we recognise that improved mobile connectivity is an integral part of delivering that ambition.
Coverage gaps still remain in some rural and remote areas
“We have been working closely with the UK mobile network operators, and they have demonstrated a clear commitment to maximising coverage. Already significant progress is being made towards meeting 4G coverage obligations, but we collectively recognise that coverage gaps will still remain in some of the most rural and remote areas.
“We will identify where those gaps will be after the commercial rollout, and together with the industry will jointly design technology solutions and business models that will allow services to be delivered by operators in a sustainable way.”
Government and industry working together
Support for mobile providers in non-commercial areas will include business rates relief and infrastructure construction.
EE’s chief executive said: “The plan will help overcome some of the challenges of extending our network and is a great example of how government and industry can work together to deliver real improvements for our customers and the broader digital society.”
Dave Dyson, Three’s chief executive, added: “Changes to the planning regime should act as a benchmark for other parts of the UK which want to improve rural connectivity.” The plan also received support from the chief executives of O2 and Vodafone.