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Telecoms provider EE has collaborated with the Government and Home Office of Scotland to introduce 4G for the first time to some of Scotland’s most remote areas.
4G has now been linked to Strathconon, Blairmore and Reawick, with a further 32 sites to follow in rural Scotland.
These sites are all part of the £ 25 million Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) initiative of the Scottish Government, which offers 4G networks and facilities in so-called “not-spots” in rural Scotland, introducing 4G access to areas that had no coverage previously.
In some of Scotland’s most remote areas, the new sites, delivered via the S4GI initiative and linked to the Emergency Service Network as part of the EE Home Office collaboration, provide critical connectivity.
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For the first time, Scottish ambulance and mountain rescue services will be able to use a secure 4G mobile service, as will people, tourists and businesses.
The next position that will gain from 4G is Little Mill (Highland). Other towns are planned to be linked over the next six months in the Highlands and Islands, Aberdeenshire, Morayshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.
Strathconon is one of the newest sites to be turned on, providing the ambulance, police, fire and mountain rescue services as well as the local community with essential connectivity.
4G has changed both his personal and work life for resident John Turner, who also leases a holiday home in Strathconon.
“He said, “Improved mobile connectivity has made a huge difference to me, my wife, and the local community. We can now communicate at higher, reliable speeds thanks to the S4GI program, which is crucial during the current pandemic.
“Like many people who live in Strathconon and the surrounding area, I work from home and can now attend online meetings without time delays and colleagues talking over each other due to poor connectivity.”
Strathconon. Image: The Faith of Scottish Futures.
As part of the S4GI initiative of the Scottish Government, up to 40 masts are expected to be constructed by summer 2023, including the extension of the emergency services network. In Strathconon, via this network, 69 homes and businesses currently enjoy mobile coverage.
“It’s great that local communities and Scotland’s emergency services will benefit from improved mobile coverage, and I thank our partners, including EE, for their work to make this possible,” said Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s Minister for Connectivity. The £ 25 million S4GI initiative by the Scottish Government, which will expand 4G coverage to 40 locations across Scotland, from the Highlands and Islands to Ettrick in the Scottish Borders, will also enable the network of emergency services to reach more rural locations than ever before to ensure that more people remain connected and safe.
“We are currently dealing with a global health emergency, and during this time digital connectivity is critical to Scotland’s social and economic recovery. The S4GI roll-out will give residents and businesses mobile connectivity for the first time, and this network will help safeguard the health and livelihoods of rural communities.”
“These 35 sites deployed through the S4GI program add to the portfolio of over 600 new sites we have deployed in rural areas across the UK. This portfolio represents a great opportunity for other operators to leverage our infrastructure and increase coverage availability for all.” said Richard Harrap, ESN’s Managing Director at EE. This portfolio is a great opportunity for other operators to leverage our infrastructure and increase the availability of coverage for all.
“At WHP, we also welcome other operators sharing these sites to reduce the amount of infrastructure in the countryside, increasing coverage and choice for all.” said Martyn Cheyne, WHP’s director of strategic growth.
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