McArthur: Scotland on wrong side of digital divide

Following the publication of an expert report finding Scotland falling behind in mobile phone coverage, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has called on mobile operators to “step up to the plate.”

New data from the OpenSignal ‘State of Mobile Networks: UK’ report, produced alongside consumers rights charity Which?, found that mobile users in Scotland can only access 4G signal 50.4% of the time with average download speeds of 21.1Mbps, which places it eighth out of 12 UK regions reviewed.

London comes top with 69.7% access to 4G, and Northern Ireland has the best download speed at 23.3Mbps.

The report also reviewed the performance of the four major mobile providers in Scotland. EE (55.06%), O2 (54.68%) and Vodafone (56.19%) all provide similar connection levels to their network. Three, however, perform much worse, with their customers in Scotland only able to access 4G signal on average 33.52% of the time.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“Access to good, reliable mobile phone coverage is increasingly an essential part of everyday life.

“The findings of this report are therefore a cause for concern. They show that not only is 4G coverage in Scotland lower than in most other parts of the country, but the speeds achieved fall short as well. For those in rural and island areas, the picture will be even more bleak.

“And this lack of service has consequences, not least in terms of our ability to attract people to live, work and invest in communities across Scotland.

“We need concerted action by the UK and Scottish governments to ensure mobile operators step up to the plate help close the digital divide that this report from Which? has exposed”.


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