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Extended 4G Coverage in Scotland to Boost Rural Connectivity for Hundreds

David Paul

,

Scottish tech sector Rural Connectivity

EE will expand coverage to 132 rural ‘not-spots’ in Scotland by the end of the year as part of the UK’s SRN programme.

EE is extending 4G rural connectivity to more than 130 rural areas across Scotland by the end of 2021.

Increased coverage will be extended to areas with high summer demand including rural tourist hotspots, national parks, coastal locations, and roads. Locations to be upgraded include Dalwhinnie, Lossiemouth, Nairn, Montrose and Kelso.

The network operator says it will upgrade 132 4G sites as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative to extend coverage and “bring improved connectivity to each UK nation”.

EE’s new upgrades fall under the first phase of the SRN, funded by BT who will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ by 2024.

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “Reliable connectivity is important wherever you live, work or travel, and we’re committed to improving and adding coverage to even the most remote areas.

“The investment BT has made in rural areas to date means we already have the infrastructure in place needed to extend our 4G coverage footprint further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build.

“There are many places where EE is the only provider with 4G coverage today, offering the other operators an opportunity to share our existing sites to plug gaps in their networks and improve mobile performance for everyone.”

EE has already upgraded its 4G network in 38 locations across Scotland since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020. Further sites have already been upgraded in Scotland so far this year, with 132 in total by years end.

The SRN programme, a collaboration between the UK’s four mobile network operators and the UK Government, aims to extend 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s geography by the middle of this decade.

A report commissioned by O2 and released earlier this month revealed that the first phase of the new Shared Rural Network (SRN) could boost rural business turnover by £187.7 million, with rural communities potentially contributing around £58.9m to UK GDP each year.

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Iain Stewart, UK Government Minister for Scotland, said: “In addition to the privately-funded Shared Rural Network, the UK Government will spend more than £500m to add coverage to total not-spots and help those in areas that need improved connectivity most.

“Combined, this will bring about a noticeable change for many people in Scotland, with 132 areas set to benefit from extended EE 4G coverage by the end of this year. Mobile phones have become a fundamental part of everyday life for most people.

“We look forward to people in rural communities being able to enjoy the benefits this investment will bring.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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