Government to invest in better mobile phone coverage in rural ‘notspots’

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has welcomed the announcement by the UK government of a £150 million investment in greater mobile network coverage across rural areas.

The new mobile infrastructure development will enable rural users to access the 3G network as well as 2G and provide a foundation for a future 4G upgrade. The investment in so-called “notspots” will significantly improve communication for businesses and consumers across the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Carmichael said: “Poor mobile phone signal is a problem that has refused to go away since I was first elected in 2001. For too long, people in the Northern Isles and across the Highlands and Islands have been at the back of the queue when it comes to network improvements and there are still a number of black spots around the Isles.

“I have lost count of the number of times that I have been on my mobile phone at home only to lose the call as the coverage just disappears.

“The Labour government talked a good game on digital services in more rural areas but did not deliver for the Highlands and Islands. Homes and businesses across northern Scotland still do not have access to the level of internet and mobile phone services they need and the coalition government is committed to rectifying this situation.

“Following from the money the government is putting into boosting broadband across the Highlands and Islands, this new investment in our mobile digital signal network is welcome news indeed.”


Add Your Comment
  • Mike Goldsmith

    • October 20th, 2011 8:48

    Yes please… Having just bought a house in Fetlar I can understand this 100% However; will this mean more ugly masts ?

  • Colin Hunter

    • October 20th, 2011 10:33

    A lot of the problem can be blamed on modern house construction, with foil backed plasterboard on the outer walls, which effectively blocks microwaves. Another culprit is modern low “E” glass which also appears to have an effect. The mobile signal in our home disappeared overnight when we fitted new windows, and after that we could only use the mobile in the porch or out-doors.
    I was told about a device called a GSM booster which can be found on ebay, and other places. If you have any kind of signal at your location (Try your phone in the loft for instance) you can place the aerial there and connect up to the amplifier box which you can place in a cupboard (for example) or somewhere out of sight. It runs off a small power supply like a mobile phone charger and takes very little power. (Milliamps) It will re-broadcast any GSM signal it picks up, enabling a 5 bar signal anywhere in the house. It appears to be able to cope with multiple calls at the same time. I have had one now for about 18 months and wouldn’t want to be without it. I imagine a similar thing on a slightly larger scale could be used to provide coverage to, say, a council estate or a cluster of homes.
    The scattered nature of Shetland’s rural housing, coupled with the hilly landscape makes good mobile coverage difficult if not impossible to achieve, being that the signal needs to be “line of sight” to the nearest mast.
    There are alternatives such as Vodafones “Sure signal” but that requires a decently fast broadband connection to work.


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