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by Sofia Villegas
23 April 2024
Plan to enhance connectivity across Scotland reaches milestone

4G spreads out across rural Scotland | Alamy

Plan to enhance connectivity across Scotland reaches milestone

The Scottish Government has completed its multi-million pound 4G infill programme, spreading 4G coverage across remote areas.

Launched in 2021, the £28.75m initiative has now delivered 4G infrastructure to 55 mobile “notspots” across Scotland.

The last to receive a mast was Stronsay in Orkney – the council area with the slowest broadband speeds in the UK, according to the latest research by Compare the Market.

The scheme has been supported by three mobile operators – Virgin Media 02, Vodafone and EE – with the latter being the biggest contributor, with its services now available in around 95 per cent of the new mast sites.

Partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the initiative was also delivered in partnership with WHP Telecoms, Cellnex UK and the Scottish Futures Trust.

Meanwhile, efforts to secure reliable mobile coverage across the country will continue, with the Shared Rural Network (SRN) project looking to extend 4G coverage to 91 per cent of Scotland by 2026.

The SRN project also recently reached a milestone after building 100 4G coverage sites across the UK, with the 100th site located on the Isle of Skye.

Mobile connectivity is an ongoing cause of political debate north of the border. In January, Lib Dem MSP for the Orkney Islands, Liam McArthur, disputed a claim by First Minister Humza Yousaf that superfast broadband was available to everyone in Scotland.

The deputy presiding officer invited Yousaf to his constituency to “explain” to locals “what they’ve been doing wrong” to have poor or no access to the superfast broadband “apparently” available.

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