EE says the deployment of 13 4G masts in the remote regions will help boost the local economies, as well as providing vital connectivity for emergency services
This week, EE has announced that it has activated 13 new 4G mobile towers in some of the most remote parts of Scotland, aiming to tackle ‘blackspots’ with extremely limited mobile coverage.
The new masts have been deployed in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, providing coverage to local residents and businesses, as well as, crucially, local emergency services.
The 13 ‘blackspots’ connected by the new towers are: Inverie (Knoydart), Kenmore, Achosnich, Brecklate, Elgol, Inverchoran, Rackwick, Ardlussa, Craighouse, Lochbuie, Stronsay, Stronachlachar, and Cawdor.
“Together with the Scottish Government and our industry partners, we are delivering the connectivity boost rural communities so desperately need in the digital age,” said Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer at BT Group. “These new sites represent an important step forward in our mission to provide local people, businesses, and emergency services with fast and reliable 4G mobile connectivity across the Scottish Highlands and Islands.”
These new towers have been deployed as part of the Scottish 4G infill programme (S4GI), a £28.75 million government initiative aiming to cover 55 of the country’s rural ‘notspots’ with 4G connectivity.
Prior to today’s announcement, 32 of these sites had already been built, 29 by EE and three by Vodafone and O2.
Now, with the additional 13 sites deployed by EE, this leaves just ten sites left to build under the S4GI, nine of which set to be deployed by EE. Three UK plans to deploy the final site, which will cover the small village of Crinan.
According to the government website, all of these final ten sites are in various phases of construction. However, many appear to be running behind schedule, with the website suggesting that most of them should have been activated in Spring this year.
EE says they will activate six additional sites across the Highlands and Islands later this year.
The impact of the 4G coverage for these regions cannot be underestimated, particularly when it comes to supporting local emergency services and Mountain Rescue.
On the island of Jura, for example, two new sites now provide more effective communication between Jura Medical Practice and its helicopter landing pad, as well as ensuring on-call doctors can be reached at all times.
“The new connectivity has delivered a hugely important boost to our day-to-day operations. Our helicopter landing site is used in the most critical situations, and so the importance of fast and reliable communication cannot be underestimated,” said Dr Martin Beastall at Jura Medical Practice. “Having access to EE’s 4G network means we can operate more effectively and ensures that we have a reliable connection to communicate when we need it most. The local area is popular with walkers and hikers, so to have access to 4G in an emergency is reassuring for both our staff and the public.”
Is the telecoms industry doing enough to ensure that rural locations in Scotland have access to high quality connectivity? Join the digital ecosystem in discussion at Connected North