Highlands & Islands

Pledge to improve connections in Highlands and Islands

Woman using a smartphone Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption 4G mobile services could be available to the majority of the Highlands and Islands by next winter

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said "no stone will be left unturned" in an effort to improve connectivity in the Highlands and Islands.

The issue was discussed at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands, a meeting that brings together the government and local authorities.

Some parts of the region have poor mobile phone and internet connections.

Delegates heard that 300 new phone masts would be installed in an effort to boost these services.

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise said it hoped that fourth-generation (4G) mobile services would be available to most of the region by December 2017.

Highland Council leader, Councillor Margaret Davidson, said: "I am pleased at the progress being made by the mobile phone operators and the extent of their planned coverage and mast upgrades, this is very welcome news and will be of huge benefit to individuals, businesses and communities."

But she added: "While I welcome this commitment, there is a pressing need to identify those areas of Highland that will not be reached as part of this contract and establish a clear plan of action to ensure that those communities who do not yet have access to effective broadband do not miss out.

"It is absolutely critical that that all communities across Highland can access superfast broadband."

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