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by Jenni Davidson
25 May 2021
Nine new mobile phone masts planned as part of the Scottish 4G Infill infrastructure programme

Rural mobile phone mast at Keswick in the Lake District - Image credit: Alamy

Nine new mobile phone masts planned as part of the Scottish 4G Infill infrastructure programme

Nine new mobile phones masts are being planned as part of a programme to improve 4G connectivity across rural Scotland.

Backed by £3.75m investment, the new masts form the latest phase of the Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) infrastructure programme, which is connecting many rural homes and businesses with 4G mobile for the first time.

The nine masts are earmarked for the Scottish Borders, the Highlands, Angus, Berneray and Islay, along with three more to replace existing masts that were removed earlier this year.

The latest locations are subject to the programme successfully obtaining planning permissions, landowner agreements and mobile network operator commitments.

So far, the S4GI programme, which is being implemented by WHP Telecoms, has delivered 11 masts, with more activations expected over the coming months.

By the summer of 2023, the programme is expected to build up to 55 masts across Scotland’s rural regions. 

The S4GI programme is backed by £17.48m of Scottish Government funding and £11.27m from the European Regional Development Fund, with the additional £3.75m taking the total funding package for the programme to £28.75m.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Digital connectivity is crucial to Scotland’s economic recovery and this latest investment in rural areas furthers our commitment to tackle the nation’s mobile ‘notspots’.

“Extending the programme’s reach brings lasting economic, social and environmental benefits.

“As we move out of lockdown, increased mobile connectivity will help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban areas, allowing people to work more flexibly and sustainably while keeping communities safe and connected.

“This in turn advances the Scottish Government’s wider green development goals in the run up to COP26 in November.”

Martyn Cheyne, WHP’s strategic development director, said: “WHP welcomes confirmation of this additional funding and this is excellent news.

“By extending the programme’s reach into more communities it will bring life enhancing connectivity to residents and businesses.

“It is also a sound endorsement of the programme’s success to date, which WHP is pleased to have played a part in, and has paved the way for the Shared Rural Network.”

The 12 new mast locations are: Deanburnhaugh, Ham, The Craigs, Kinlochard, Inverie, Kenmore, Ellemford, Berneray Harbour, Rottal, Stronachlachar, Achnosnich and Kilchoman.

Read the most recent article written by Jenni Davidson - The Holyrood baby: More likely to live in poverty now than the day she was born

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