4G/5G connectivity for all Scotland

Coming ftom the islands, I am acutely aware of the pooor broadband service in the more remote parts of Scotland. Superfast broadband or fibre is never going to reach these parts. The Faroes have already put up masts to overcome this problem. I understand the cost of the frequencies needed rule out small companies from bidding for this, put surely as a nation we can overcome this.

We sit on one of the most imprtant wind and tidal resource in Scotland, but unable to contribute to the National grid to to lack of connectivity and a skewed market not taking into account long-term objectives of green energy, but that is another story although similar.

Why the contribution is important

If you take the cost of laying landlines into consideration and the disruption thereof, it could be a cost-effective solution. We have a lot of people and businesses that are put off coming to the highlands and islands due to the poor connectivity, and therfore the sustainabilty and development questionable exept for a few that wish to get away from it all. Also, it would benefit the safety and efficiency of fishermen and sea transport. Education would also save money, with video conferncing, distance learning and the virtual classroom a reality instead of access to a few colleges.

Taken across the whole country, it would increase the efficiency of local government, health boards, etc. not to mention the benefits to the elderly and education. We have plenty of land for people to settle - it is only now with the possible connectivity that we should be able to overcome the disadvantages of remoteness - a move from town to country (a reversal of the industrial revolution in a way).

It is important for a nation that has equal access and opportunity for all, and to make the best use of our talent wherever they are in the land. This is indeed a big idea that needs a big government to take it on.

by edsinc on December 11, 2016 at 09:44PM

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Comments

  • Posted by KBG December 13, 2016 at 17:45

    It is not only the obvious remote places that would benefit from, but need, mobile connectivity. Even 20 miles from Glasgow, there are small communities who don't always get 2G never mind 3G, 4G or 5G.
    As edsinc highlights, mobile or wireless connections are much easier to install than land-line fibre although the latter would be preferable.
    In the less accessible areas it should be remembered that just because these may be remote from the road network they are heavily visited by walkers and other visitors. Tourism is a core part of the Scottish economy and visitors expect to be able to use their phones and other devices even though there may only be a few full-time local residents. All the hotels and B&B businesses would be key examples of this and the number of localised subscriptions would not reflect the potential level of use.
    Provision of mobile coverage in the event of an emergency is another factor especially applicable to less accessible areas. While this may not entirely match the currently simple commercial model of “user pays”, and the provider provides the mean to achieve that, in more remote cases there needs to be some incentive for the provider to put up masts that not simply for the use of permanent residents – even if it is legislation.
    We are also told that the timescale for even 4G may be several years away, so again rural areas are the poor relations.
    Finally, visibility to communities of what Mobile infrastructure upgrades will be done, and when, is key to avoid time, energy and money being wasted by duplication across programmes.
  • Posted by KBG December 14, 2016 at 16:16

    Reinforced by the BBC Scotland Radio programme Call Kaye this morning, the degree of UK coverage by the Mobile service should be by a geographic measure and not a population measure. The target 98% coverage currently used will be achieved primarily by those living in SE England.
    A 98% geographic coverage is needed to provide what is required for people in, or travelling through, many parts of Scotland.
  • Posted by Carolineb December 14, 2016 at 20:40

    As a teacher I am often asked about digital inclusion and whether when I use online learning opportunities with pupils I take account of the availability of devices for them to use at home; I always have to answer that now it is not access to devices that causes a lack of equal opportunity but very poor access to the Internet by any means.
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