Residents and businesses based in New Luce in Wigtownshire are finally able to access 4G services thanks to a programme from the Scottish government to ensure that rural notspots (areas with no mobile coverage from any service provider) are addressed.
The Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) Programme is backed by £15 million of fuding from the Scottish Government and £10 million from the European Regional Development Fund. The programme was set up in 2018 and is being delivered by WHP Telecoms, managed by the Scottish Futures Trust.
The New Luce mast is the first of 24 scheduled to be rolled out over the next two years, with further mast sites under consideration. Vodafone is already offering 4G, 3G and 2G services from the mast, with EE expected to do so later in the year.
“Improving mobile coverage is vital to achieving the Scottish Government’s ambition to make sure everyone in Scotland has access to high-speed, reliable coverage,” commented Scottish Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse. “People in New Luce are the first to benefit, but we hope that, like Wigtownshire, many more remote and rural parts of Scotland and Scotland’s islands will soon enjoy improved, cost-effective connectivity as a result of the Scottish Government’s work with industry and other partners.”
Vodafone’s Nick Jeffery noted that more than a quarter of the UK’s population live in rural areas and that they shouldn’t feel cut off from online services – whether educational or recreational. “This is why we pioneered network sharing and are keen to support this programme, as well as similar ones, in order to provide fast mobile services in remote locations while minimising the environmental impact,” he noted.