Glasgow & West Scotland

Mobile mast plan for Scottish island of Coll

Image caption Residents on Coll have no mobile reception outside a few isolated spots

Moves are under way to install a publicly-funded mobile phone mast on a small Scottish island.

Development Coll has applied for planning permission to erect a mast on the west end of Coll, near Grishipol.

The pilot scheme would see taxpayers pay for the mast but the community will own it and be responsible for annual running costs of up to £2,000.

If the scheme is successful it could be extended to other remote communities that cannot get mobile reception.

Coll, which is located west of Mull in the Inner Hebrides, has a population of just under 200 people.

While the island is well-known for its wildlife, basking sharks and recently secured stargazing "dark skies" status, residents have never had mobile phone reception outside of a few isolated spots.

John Fraser of Coll's Development Trust is backing the plan.

He said: "We the community will own a mobile phone mast.

"What we haven't been able to do is attract the bigger companies like Vodafone to actually invest that amount of money for very small populations.

"The vast majority of people want that and the community does need it."

But opinion on the island is not completely behind the plan.

Pat Graham, the secretary of the community council, said: "It'll cover some areas but not the areas we want it to cover.

"Tourists, because they're so used to having mobile phones, bless them, they come here and expect mobile service which is a shame because Coll is something different to that.

"You come here to unwind."

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