Government begins £75m 4G upgrade across rural Scotland

Written by Ruaraidh Gilmour on 4 May 2023 in News

First on 120 new masts being rolled out to connect ‘not spots’ has been installed in Lockerbie

Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

The first infrastructure upgrade to boost 4G signals across Scotland has been activated in the town of Lockerbie delivering 4G coverage to residents in the east of Dumfries and Galloway and other neighbouring villages.

The upgrade is the first of 120 phone masts that will be added in similar sites across rural Scotland, funded by £75m from the UK government’s £1bn Shared Rural Network programme.

The programme, which has received public and private investment, aims to end rural mobile ‘not spots’ – areas that have poor or patchy coverage and cannot receive 4G from all four of the major network operators: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. The new mast in Lockerbie is also the first to be shared by all four of the major network operators.

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It is hoped that once the programme is completed rural communities and businesses will be able to experience the full benefits of digital technology, as well as give first responders faster, safer and more secure voice, video and data on the 4G network, for better access to life-saving information in emergencies.

UK government minister for Scotland John Lamont said: "A reliable phone signal is one of the biggest issues faced by our rural communities around Scotland and I am pleased the UK Government has committed £75 million to upgrade 120 masts across the country. The public and private sector are coming together to make sure people are better connected. The upgrade in Lockerbie is just the start and I look forward to other rural communities benefiting as part of our £1bn Shared Rural Network programme in the UK."

Councillor Gail Macgregor, leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “This is great news as good connectivity is now critical for citizens and businesses in our region. We all need a reliable service, from keeping in touch with friends and family to ordering online. This is part of our modern way of life and is an essential requirement, particularly in our rural area of Dumfries and Galloway.”


About the author

Ruaraidh Gilmour is a reporter at PublicTechnology sister publication Holyrood, where a version of this story first appeared. He tweets as @Ruaraidh0.


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