Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has expressed her frustration at the failure of the Scottish Government’s 4G Infill programme to deliver mobile coverage for not-spots in Shetland after a progress update published today showed two of the three Shetland sites have been dropped.
The 4G Infill programme aims to deliver 4G infrastructure and services to areas of Scotland without any mobile coverage. Three sites in Shetland had been included for consideration in the programme: Reawick, Foula (Ham) and Bruray (Skerries). According to the Scottish Government, Ham and Bruray have been removed because “no mobile operators have committed to using them.”
Infrastructure is being built at the Reawick site (which seems to be erroneously listed as Selivoe) with services projected to be available “within the next year.”
Commenting, Ms Wishart said:
“People living in Foula and Skerries have once more been let down. It is quite clear that further intervention is needed. If mobile operators do not see a business case for operating in small remote communities then the Government must step in to ensure that mobile coverage is available. People will rightly be questioning what the point of programmes like this are if they do not make a real difference to the people who could benefit the most.
“Mobile coverage is vital for a host of important services like healthcare, education and banking. For small remote communities to survive and thrive it’s crucial that the infrastructure is there to enable people to stay and others to move or return to island life.
“While it is good news that the Reawick site is progressing, I will be seeking to ensure that the sites that have been excluded are not forgotten and that further steps will be taken to bring mobile coverage to the remaining “not-spots” in Shetland.”