Highlands & Islands

Bid to tackle phone signal 'notspots' in Arran and Moray

Man using a phone Image copyright PA
Image caption The government has said it was committed to improving connectivity in Scotland

A new Scottish government pilot scheme aims to tackle so-called mobile phone signal "notspots".

Two locations have been chosen - the Isle of Arran and an area of Moray covering Glenlivet and Knockandhu - where signals are deemed to be poor.

The government has offered non-domestic rates relief in these areas in an effort to encourage mobile network operators to improve services.

The initiative was announced by Islands Minister Derek Mackay.

On a visit to Arran he said: "Through this approach we are demonstrating early support to mobile network operators while monitoring the impact the relief has on delivering improved connectivity.

"If successful, we will look to extend this scheme throughout Scotland to ensure that no area is left behind."

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Lighthouses have been suggested as ideal locations for the installation of mobile phone services equipment

Earlier this month, Deputy First Minister John Swinney 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.

Also this year, lighthouses were suggested as a way of helping to improve mobile phone coverage in the Western Isles and boosting the introduction of new 4G services to the isles.

Islands MP Angus McNeil said the Northern Lighthouse Board (NBL) was open to the idea of working with the mobile phone service providers.

He said it was possible equipment needed to provide the phone services could be fitted to lighthouses.

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