Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has challenged mobile phone operators to engage with the Scottish Government’s 4G infill programme to ensure remaining gaps in the service are closed.
Mr McArthur submitted a written parliamentary question asking the Scottish Government what progress has been made in installing new mobile phone masts in Orkney under the 4G infill programme.
In response, Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Connectivity and the Islands, said that the 4G programme is working to progress three mast locations in Burray, Hoy and Stromness; but is still waiting on the mobile phone operators committing to their use before it can progress fully.
Mr McArthur has now written to each of the main mobile phone operators, urging them to engage with the programme or set out the reasons why they don’t believe this is necessary in order to provide customers in the island with the service they require.
Mr McArthur commented:
“It is right that the government steps in to help ensure gaps in mobile phone coverage are closed. This will only happen, however, if the mobile operators engage constructively with the ‘infill’ programme.
“According to the Minister’s reply to my parliamentary question, progress is being made with the installation of masts. It is disappointing, however, to hear that the mobile phone companies have not yet made clear their intention to use these masts.
“That is not good enough. If their service is already comprehensive, that is fine, but if not they should be taking steps to make sure it is. Either way, the operators need to be upfront with people in Orkney.
“I have written to each of the companies seeking answers and pressing for people in Orkney to get the best mobile coverage possible, as soon as possible”.