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Scotland Unveil £25m Mobile Infill Project to Boost 4G Coverage

Monday, March 12th, 2018 (1:34 pm) - Score 1,202
scotland uk regions map

The Scottish Government has today announced a new investment of £25 million that will be used to fund the 4G Infill Programme, which aims to help build new mobile network masts in locations with no existing 4G coverage in order to improve local connectivity.

The announcement says absolutely nothing about time-scales or the predicted uplift of 4G network coverage and Mobile Broadband that could result from the programme, although they have published a somewhat vague map with several big dots to very roughly represent 16 “notspot” sites that have been initially identified to benefit.

scotland_4g_mobile_infill_map

Apparently the investment should eventually extend to “about 60 to 70 areas” and the “majority of the programme will focus on sites completely without coverage in the Highlands and Islands” region (i.e. remote rural areas).

Fergus Ewing, Scottish Connectivity Secretary, said:

“Widespread high-speed and reliable mobile coverage is just as vital as broadband, and ensures that people, communities, and businesses are able to stay connected.

Improving mobile coverage across Scotland is key to achieving our ambition to become fully digitally connected. Our innovative Mobile Action Plan outlines how we are working with industry and other partners to improve coverage. The Infill programme will target the areas where it can make the most difference, achieving better and cost-effective connectivity in some of our most remote and challenging areas.”

At this point you’d be forgiven for thinking that this sounds an awful lot like the same sort of approach as the UK government’s ill-fated £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), which didn’t deliver what it promised after becoming bogged down by a mix of problems (here).

The issues that struck the MIP ranged from delays in getting planning permission (some communities protested), to challenges with securing wayleave agreements via many different land owners and the difficulty of confirming where “not spots” actually existed (mobile coverage is variable). Securing good power and fibre optic capacity supplies in remote rural areas was also a challenge.

Perhaps this explains why the Scottish Government have chosen to say so little about their targets and time-scales for the 4G Infill Programme. A little bit of extra detail can be found in last year’s consultation on the new programme.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Anon

    Looks like Innermessan, Moffat, Killellan, East Linton, Glenbranter, Kilmartin, Tarskavaig, Applecross, Pennan, Garve, Grabhair, Finsbay, Sandwood Bay, Outertown & Bruray (shame the Scottish Government couldn’t be bothered to list them)

    • Kenny

      Looks like South Lochs in Lewis is highlighted too. But this may be a con , since EE are in the process of erecting a new mast for the new ESN network, which is the replacement of Airwave. On the back of this they are providing EE network from the sites. You may find some of these masts are already up !!

    • JT

      How clear are you on the initial 16-17 areas quoted above?
      I contacted the Scottish government for clarification but seems to have disappeared into one of Prof Hawking’s black holes
      I’m in Strathconon so interested in the blob on the map which could be Garve, Achnasheen or Strathconon

  2. Stephen

    I see that the Wireless Infastructure Group are planning to upgrade a mast in Braemar so that it can be used by all 4 ISP’s instead of the current 2 (EE & VF). I wonder if this is part of the project.

  3. Tim

    Forget Scotland … what about indoor coverage in cities?

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