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Project to Rollout 4G Mobile in Rural Scotland Reaches Halfway

Monday, July 4th, 2022 (11:55 am) - Score 1,248
ee_rural_mobile_mast_uk

The Scottish Government’s £28.75m 4G Infill Programme (S4GI), which is supported by WHP Telecoms and aims to improve rural mobile voice and data (broadband) coverage by building new masts (mostly in the Highlands and Islands), has officially reached the halfway point with 28 masts activated and 27 to go by 2023.

Mobile operators including EE, O2 (VMO2) and Vodafone have already agreed to provide a 4G service via many of the new mast sites, although the vast majority of live sites are currently only providing a service via EE’s network, while Three UK seems to have largely shunned the project. All sites are capable of supporting multiple operators in the future.

NOTE: S4GI predominantly focuses on extending coverage in areas of no existing signal (“notspots“).

All of this should help to complement the new £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN), which aims to extend UK geographic 4G mobile coverage to 95% by the end of 2025. Not to mention the 10Mbps+ Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband, which often falls back to a 4G fix.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Economy Secretary, said:

“The Scottish Government is helping more residents and workers get online and tackling some of Scotland’s longest standing mobile phone signal black spots.

“The availability of 4G services has proven transformational for members of these communities, who have taken advantage of new connectivity to enhance how they work, communicate with friends and family, access public services, purchase products and services and consume entertainment.

The Scottish Government wants to build on that, through our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, to capitalise on the ability of enhanced digital connectivity to encourage innovation and growth. We will all need to work together to create a more prosperous, fairer and more sustainable nation.”

Residents and businesses in Bogton, in Turriff in Aberdeenshire, were the latest to benefit from the programme, which is being supported by a public investment of £17.48m from the Scottish Government and £11.27m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

We’ve pasted in the latest May 2022 edition of the S4GI coverage map below (this hasn’t been updated for June/July yet).

Scotland-4G-Infill-Map-May-2022

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. james smith says:

    Aberdeen, I’m sirprised given that is where the oil industry is based

    1. Martin says:

      I think you are confusing Aberdeen City (a separate council area)with Aberdeenshire. Parts of the latter are very rural.

  2. Mark says:

    Is that an actual mast in the location to benefit rural Highlands? How do they ever get planning permission in AONB etc, I suppose the public and councils are sympathetic up there instead of objection and planning rejection down South,

    1. 5G_Infinity says:

      Not quite a mast, its a tower as it has no stays.

  3. Mark says:

    Well makes little difference was referring to the brick wall some councils put up, certainly in some areas the Shared Rural Network will have no effect due to objection,planning and overall rejection of mobile phone masts, you are aware that there is quite an anti mast movement affecting a lot of consumers and having poor or no coverage by the vocal minority.

  4. Guy Cashmore says:

    Meanwhile SRN progress here in rural Devon appears to be nil. According to the published map our area is due significant improvement, I won’t hold my breath..

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