Scottish Government Complete £28.75m 4G Mobile Infill Programme

The Scottish Government’s (SG) £28.75m 4G Infill Programme (S4GI), which has spent the past few years improving rural mobile voice and data (broadband) coverage by building new masts in rural parts of Scotland, has officially updated to announce that “mast build and 4G activation within the programme has been completed.

The initiative, which was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered in partnership with WHP Telecoms (the main infrastructure provider), Cellnex UK and the Scottish Futures Trust, has managed to deliver 4G infrastructure and services to 55 mobile “notspots” in rural and island parts of Scotland. All the sites are now live and providing a service.

Mobile operators including EE (BT), O2 (VMO2) and Vodafone have helped by providing a 4G service via many of the new mast sites. But the vast majority of live sites are currently still only providing a service via EE’s network, while Three UK seems to have largely shunned the project. Further details on the project sites can be found on the SG’s page for the 4G Infill Programme.

However, it’s worth noting that the expansion of 4G and 5G mobile coverage in Scotland will not stop. The UK government’s wider and industry-led £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN) project is separately working to extend geographic 4G mobile coverage to 95% of the UK by the end of 2025 (91% in Scotland) via a mix of mast sharing and new mast builds.

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