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Mobile coverage boost

Published: 14 Mar 2016 09:50

Pilot launched to tackle mobile Notspots.

A pilot scheme aimed at tackling mobile 'Notspots' in remote and rural areas was launched by Islands Minister Derek Mackay during a visit to Arran today.

Under the pilot scheme, non-domestic rates relief will be offered to encourage the provision of mobile services in remote and rural areas with no current or planned coverage.

Lasting for a period of five years, the rates relief is part of a wider package of measures under consideration to encourage investment, which could potentially include further relaxation of planning legislation, usage of public sector assets, and the capital subsidy of masts.

The pilot areas – two within Arran and one within Cairngorm – were chosen as they are long-established Notspots where preliminary work to deliver community mobile projects has already been undertaken by the Scottish Futures Trust, on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Mr Mackay said:

"Ensuring that everyone in Scotland has access to high quality digital connectivity is a priority for the Scottish Government. It underpins our economic strategy – helping our businesses grow through accessing new markets while ensuring that people can work flexibly from anywhere in Scotland."

"That is why I am today marking the commencement of a pilot scheme in three areas within Arran and the Cairngorms offering non-domestic rates relief on new mobile masts. 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."

"The Scottish Government remains committed to removing barriers to investment in mobile and this pilot forms part of a wider action plan designed to maximise 4G mobile coverage in Scotland which we are developing in collaboration with the industry."

Notes to editors

Legislation for the non-domestic rate relief scheme was laid on 24 February 2016 and the relief will take effect on 1 April 2016 for a period of five years.