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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
03 May 2023
First Scottish residents get 4G signal boost from UK Government rural programme

4G mast | Alamy

First Scottish residents get 4G signal boost from UK Government rural programme

The first UK Government funded phone mast upgrade has been activated in Lockerbie delivering 4G coverage to residents in the east of Dumfries and Galloway, and other neighbouring villages.

The upgrade is the first of 120 masts that will be added in similar sites across rural Scotland, made possible by £75m of investment boost from the UK government’s £1 billion Shared Rural Network programme.

The programme, which has received public and private investment, aims to end rural mobile ‘not spots’ - areas that have poor or patchy coverage and cannot receive 4G from all four of the major network operators (EE, VMO2, Three and Vodafone). The new mast in Lockerbie is also the first to be shared by all four of the major network operators.

It is hoped that once the programme is completed rural communities and businesses will be able to experience the full benefits of digital technology, as well as give first responders faster, safer and more secure voice, video and data on the 4G network, for better access to life-saving information in emergencies.

UK Government minister for Scotland John Lamont said: "A reliable phone signal is one of the biggest issues faced by our rural communities around Scotland and I am pleased the UK Government has committed £75 million to upgrade 120 masts across the country. The public and private sector are coming together to make sure people are better connected.

"The upgrade in Lockerbie is just the start and I look forward to other rural communities benefiting as part of our £1 billion Shared Rural Network programme in the UK."

Councillor Gail Macgregor, leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “This is great news as good connectivity is now critical for citizens and businesses in our region. We all need a reliable service, from keeping in touch with friends and family to ordering online. This is part of our modern way of life and is an essential requirement, particularly in our rural area of Dumfries and Galloway.”

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