Plan to roll out 4G mobile in rural Scotland reaches halfway


The Scottish Government’s £28.75m 4G Infill (S4GI) programme, which is backed by WHP Telecoms and aims to improve mobile voice and data (broadband) coverage by building new masts (mainly in the Highlands and Islands), has officially reached the halfway point with 28 masts activated and 27 to come by 2023.

Mobile operators including EE, O2 (VMO2) and Vodafone have already agreed to provide 4G service through many new mast sites, although the vast majority of live sites currently only provide service through the network of EE, while Three UK seems to have largely shunned the project. All sites are capable of supporting multiple operators in the future.

REMARK: S4GI mainly focuses on extending coverage in areas with no existing signal (“no stains“).

All of this should help complete the new £1billion Shared rural network (SRN), which aims to extend the UK’s geographic 4G mobile coverage to 95% by the end of 2025. Not to mention 10Mbps+ Universal service obligation (USO) for broadband, which often amounts to a 4G fix.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Economy Secretary, said:

“The Scottish Government is helping more residents and workers connect and is tackling some of Scotland’s oldest mobile signal blackspots.

“The availability of 4G services has proven to be transformational for members of these communities, who have taken advantage of new connectivity to improve the way they work, communicate with friends and family, access public services, buy products and services and have fun.

The Scottish Government wants to build on this, through its National Economic Transformation Strategy, to harness the ability of improved digital connectivity to spur innovation and growth. We will all need to work together to create a more prosperous, fairer and more sustainable nation.

Residents and businesses in Bogton, Turriff in Aberdeenshire, were the latest to benefit from the scheme, which is backed by public investment of £17.48million from the Scottish Government and £11.27million sterling from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

We have pasted the latest May 2022 edition of the S4GI coverage map below (it has not yet been updated for June/July).


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