The Scottish Government is teaming up with EE and the Home Office to boost rural 4G across Scotland for the first time.
Strathconon, Blairmore and Reawick have been connected to 4G, with a further 32 locations across rural Scotland to follow.
These sites are all part of the Scottish Government’s £25 million Scottish 4G Infill programme (S4GI) which is delivering 4G infrastructure and services in so-called ‘not-spots’ in rural Scotland, providing 4G connectivity to areas which previously had no coverage.
Delivered by the S4GI programme and connected as part of EE’s Emergency Service Network partnership with the Home Office, the new sites will provide vital connectivity in some of Scotland’s most rural areas.
Scottish Emergency Services and Mountain Rescue will be able to access a reliable 4G mobile service for the first time, as well as residents, visitors and businesses.
Scotland’s Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse commented: “It’s great that local communities and Scotland’s emergency services will benefit from improved mobile coverage, and my thanks go to our partners including EE for their work in making this happen.
“The Scottish Government’s £25 million S4GI programmes in extending the 4G coverage to 40 not-spots across Scotland from the Highlands and Islands to Ettrick in the Scottish Borders, also is enabling the Emergency Services Network to reach more rural places than ever before, ensuring more people keep connected and remain safe.
“We are currently dealing with a global health emergency, and during this, digital connectivity is crucial in ensuring Scotland’s social and economic recovery. With the S4GI roll-out providing local residents and businesses with mobile connectivity for the first time, this network will help future-proof the health and livelihoods of local rural communities.”
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Little Mill is the next location due to benefit from 4G, with more sites across the Highlands and Islands, Aberdeenshire, Morayshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders set to be connected in the next six months
Richard Harrap, Managing Director of ESN, at EE, said: “We’re committed to bringing reliable coverage to communities for the first time, and providing the much-needed reassurance that the emergency services and first responders can stay connected in even the most remote areas.
“We are already well ahead of other operators in delivering rural 4G coverage, and these new sites will further expand accessibility. These 35 sites delivered by the S4GI programme add to the portfolio of over 600 new sites we have built-in rural areas across Great Britain.
“This portfolio represents a great opportunity for other operators to share our infrastructure and increase coverage availability for everyone.”
By the summer of 2023, the Scottish Government’s S4GI programme is anticipated to deliver up to 40 masts, including the Emergency Service Network roll-out. In Strathconon, 69 homes and businesses are now receiving mobile coverage from this network.