EE has expanded its mobile network to another 1,500 remote communities in the Scottish Highlands. The mobile operator has successfully deployed two new 4G (mobile broadband) mobile masts at Rackwick (Hoy) and Stronsay on Orkney, one of north Scotland’s most remote island communities as part of the Scottish Government’s £28.75m 4G Infill Programme (S4GI).
The S4GI programme, which is also being supported by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and WHP Telecoms, is currently working to extend 4G infrastructure and coverage for up to 55 mobile “notspots” across rural and remote parts of Scotland. The project has already helped to build two other masts on Orkney, including one at Deerness and another in Burray.
EE now claims to have “by far the highest levels of 4G coverage” across Scotland’s landmass at 75%, which they say is 8 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor. The wider S4GI programme is currently due to complete its final mast deployment across Scotland by the end of this spring.
The upgrades are part of a wider, industry-led upgrade scheme, Shared Rural Network (SRN). The £1 billion joint initiative between mobile network operators and the UK Government plans to extend 4G connectivity to 95 per cent of the UK’s geography by the end of 2025. EE joined the SRN deal three years ago. The shared masts are run by a jointly-run company Digital Mobile Spectrum.
The SRN has supplied more than 2,000 square miles of additional 4G connectivity to rural areas of the UK nations. EE’s 4G network now covers more than 99 per cent of the population.
The site upgrade boosts 4G coverage around Loch Ness and nearby villages along the River Moriston which attract thousands of tourists UK
Government Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said: “The Shared Rural Network is transforming countryside communities, giving people reliable and fast mobile connectivity”