Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan has welcomed plans by the Scottish Government to increase and improve mobile coverage in Scotland as actions have been agreed with mobile operators.
The plan will attempt to increase commercial investment in 4G mobile in Scotland. It also aims to ultimately support 5G-ready infrastructure across the country.
Primary responsibility over mobile coverage lies with the UK government.
A Scottish Government report, published two years ago, concluded that more than a quarter of Scotland’s landmass lacked adequate mobile phone coverage.
However, the Scottish Government said there are measures it could follow using powers of the Scottish Parliament to “take forward a series of actions, with tangible steps alongside public sector partners to support its ambition”.
These will range from interventions such as business rates relief for operators through to more direct interventions, such as investing in the construction of new or enhanced infrastructure.
Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“We have been working closely with the UK mobile network operators, and they have demonstrated a clear commitment to maximising coverage.
“Already significant progress is being made towards meeting 4G coverage obligations, but we collectively recognise that coverage gaps will still remain in some of the most rural and remote areas.
“We will identify where those gaps will be after the commercial rollout, and together with the industry will jointly design technology solutions and business models that will allow services to be delivered by operators in a sustainable way.”
The proposals were welcomed by local MSP, Stuart McMillan who said that digital connectivity is now vital for many communities, businesses and public services.
“Ensuring high quality digital connectivity across all of Scotland is a priority for the SNP Scottish Government. We have set out an ambition for the availability of world class digital connectivity across Scotland, and we recognise that improved mobile connectivity is an integral part of delivering that ambition.
“Smartphones are now the most popular way to get online in Scotland, and high-speed universal mobile communications coverage is vital for businesses to connect with potential customers.
“The SNP Scottish Government has been working with the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) to determine how it can most effectively support industry to deliver a 5G-ready infrastructure across all of Scotland.”