FIRST SCOTTISH ISLAND GETS 4G

I am very pleased to see that at least one part of the Argyll & Bute Constituency now has 4G phone coverage. Up until today it was only available on the Cowal shore as a spill over signal from Inverclyde.

Welcome as this is, there needs to be much greater investment by the companies themselves in their own network and far less contempt for their customers – constant outages, drop signal and failure to repair weather damaged masts and equipment for days and even weeks.

The recent Oban Times story of Vodafone’s failure to restore the first responder pager system on the Island of Luing for three months was just another example of how cavalier their treatment is of local people – even those delivering lifeline services. Their litany of excuses made a bad situation even worse.


SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PRESS RELEASE

March 25, 2015

Coll becomes first Scottish island with 4G

Collaboration opens up commercial opportunities

Ultrafast mobile network is live on the Isle of Coll.

The inner Hebridean island of Coll has become the first off Scotland to have access to 2G, 3G and 4G telecommunications services.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Keith Brown described the roll-out as “a massive breakthrough” which could “help transform the local economy”.

The switch-on – in partnership with Vodafone and community organisations – means local people, businesses and the wider community can have faster and more reliable mobile access, ultimately boosting business opportunities for islanders.

Mr Brown said:

“The Isle of Coll project is a great example of what can be achieved when a community has the ambition and the commitment to making such a development work.

“A state-of-the-art telecoms mast – funded by the Scottish Government as part of our Demonstrating Digital programme, which supports our digital world class 2020 vision – allows communities and businesses on Coll to access mobile services for the first time.

“It’s very encouraging to see a local community and a service provider – in this case Vodafone – work with the government to develop an innovative solution for an area that is otherwise unlikely to receive mobile coverage.

“This community ownership model provides a template that has the potential to be adopted in other remote areas across the country, improving connectivity to Scotland’s islands and rural towns and villages.”

Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer Jorge Fernandes added:

“Our partnership with the Scottish Government and the local community is the ideal business model to be able to deliver ultra-fast 4G mobile communications to remote locations, such as the Isle of Coll.

“Thanks to the enormous effort of our engineers, we can now give islanders high-speed mobile data access to services that will enable greater economic development and improved social inclusion. This initiative is real evidence of what we can achieve together, when the required fixed connection is in place to link our 4G network in remote places to the national fixed line infrastructure.”

Lavinia MacLean-Bristol, Chair of Development Coll, said:

“The ability to communicate has a real impact on families and businesses within small, remote communities such as ours and this project will help to make a big difference.”

Derek Graham, Programme Director with the Demonstrating Digital team at Scottish Futures Trusty, stated:

“This is a great example of what can be achieved in a collaborative environment, allowing locals and visitors to the Island of Coll access to mobile and data services for the very first time. We very much look forward to seeing the many benefits that the introduction of mobile technology will have on the lives of those visiting, living and working on Coll.”

The project has resulted from a successful collaboration between the Scottish Government, Scottish Futures Trust, Vodafone, Mono Consultants, Wireless Infrastructure Group and the local community.

The Coll project is the first of several pilots that the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust will use to evaluate the potential for this approach to be replicated to address mobile not-spots in other remote communities in the future.

This pioneering project demonstrates community ownership of telecoms infrastructure. Development Coll, a local community trust established to generate income through local enterprise is taking ownership of the mobile mast and has assumed responsibility for its maintenance.

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Background

Demonstrating Digital programme – this programme inspires innovative technologies and test alternative (and sustainable) business models that can realise the Scottish Government’s World Class ambitions. We are working with Scottish Futures Trust to provide technical advice and support, project management consultancy and delivery assurance to a range of partners.

World Class 2020 programme – we have set an ambition for Scotland to be a world class digital nation by 2020. We are making substantial investment across four main areas – connectivity, digital public services, digital economy and digital participation.

More information on all aspects of Digital Scotland can be found athttp://www.gov.scot/Topics/Economy/digital

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