Calls to improve mobile phone coverage across Scotland

Is Edinburgh a hot spot for strong mobile phone signals?
Is Edinburgh a hot spot for strong mobile phone signals?
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The sale of airwaves crucial to improving mobile signals should come with Scotland-specific coverage obligations, the organisation representing small businesses has said.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) will call on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee to push the UK government to take up the proposal when it appears to give evidence next week.

The committee is currently investigating digital connectivity in Scotland.

Ahead of its appearance on Monday, the FSB said action was needed to help address Scotland’s “unacceptable” mobile coverage. It highlighted Ofcom figures showing that just 17 per cent of Scotland’s geography has 4G mobile coverage compared to 60 per cent of England’s 
landmass.

FSB Scottish policy convener Andy Willox said: “These figures show that the gap between Scotland and England is unacceptably wide – as it has been for some time.

“Ofcom have suggested that nation-specific coverage obligations might be a means to address this embarrassing problem.

“The Scottish Affairs Committee must push the UK government to take up this proposal.”

Statistics show Scotland also lags behind on superfast broadband, with 87 per cent availability compared with 92 per cent in England. The Scottish Government has said initial investment will deliver superfast access to a “significant proportion” of the 245,000 homes and business which do not currently have access.

It said there would also be further phases “involving a wide range of superfast technologies, supported by a national voucher scheme, available to individuals and to communities”.