£3.7m to Improve Rural Connectivity

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New Mobile Mast Announced for Glen Clova

Graeme has welcomed the announcement of a further £3.75 million Scottish Government investment to improve mobile coverage in some of the most rural parts of Scotland – including in his Angus South constituency.

These areas, known as ‘Not Spots’, would otherwise continue to lack coverage as their remoteness and lack of dense population precludes commercial incentive.

A further nine masts are earmarked – one at Rottal in Glen Clova, with the area in and around Foldhead having been identified as a Not Spot. Others will be installed in the Scottish Borders and in Highland and island communities, with three replacing masts removed earlier this year.

Marking the latest phase of the Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) infrastructure programme, the masts will provide more rural homes and businesses with 4G mobile connectivity for the first time. It takes the total funding package for the programme, being delivered by WHP Telecoms, to £28.75 million.

At Glen Clova, the proposed installation is a 20m high lattice tower on concrete pad foundation with associated ancillary works – designed to be fully compliant with public exposure guidelines. While an exact site is proposed, searches are ongoing to identify other suitable sites – taking into account the local authority’s development plan.

A consultation plan is being developed.

Welcoming the investment in the Angus Glens, Graeme said:

I am pleased that the latest phase of this vital programme will bring much needed connectivity improvements to this beautiful but remote part of the Angus South Constituency.

The problem of so-called ‘Not Spots’ has become more pressing than ever with the impact of the pandemic, and this Scottish Government is committed to tackling it.

This is reflective of a wider renewed commitment to rural Scotland, and an acknowledgement that digital connectivity is crucial to economic recovery here in Angus and across Scotland.

The extension of the S4GI programme will bring lasting benefits to many more areas – social and environmental as well as economic.

Martyn Cheyne, WHP’s Strategic Development Director, said:

WHP welcomes confirmation of this additional funding and this is excellent news. By extending the programme’s reach into more communities it will bring life enhancing connectivity to residents and businesses.

It is also a sound endorsement of the programme’s success to date, which WHP is pleased to have played a part in, and which has paved the way for the Shared Rural Network.

The latest locations are subject to the programme successfully obtaining planning permissions, landowner agreements approval and mobile network operator commitments.

So far, the S4GI programme – which has also been backed by £11.27 million from the European Regional Development Fund – has delivered 11 masts, with more activations expected over the coming months. By the summer of 2023, the programme is anticipated to deliver up to 55 masts across Scotland’s rural regions.