Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed the opening of a consultation on the Shared Rural Network, as the project to expand mobile coverage across rural areas of the UK develops. Forecasts released this week by the Shared Rural Network project suggest that by 2025, 74% of Scotland will have coverage from all four networks, up from the 44% in 2020. The percentage of Scotland's landmass expected to have coverage from at least one carrier was also expected to rise from 81 per cent to 91 per cent.
The Highlands and Islands are scheduled to see the area covered by all carriers with LTE networks rise from just 26 per cent to 68 per cent. Meanwhile, the percentage of area with coverage from at least one network is expected to rise from 73 per cent to 91 per cent.
Commenting on the news, Mr Carmichael said:
“That the Shared Rural Network continues to make steady progress despite the pandemic is good to see. With four years left until the government’s self-imposed deadline for these improvements to be complete there is no room for complacency – particularly as connectivity has only become more important for our work and personal lives in the last year. We cannot go back to the old normal so we must press on with making our digital connections better.
“Further consultations announced this week should not be an excuse for inaction but they can be a chance for the reality of need and opportunity in the isles to be more clearly heard. I would advise anyone with an interest in the further expansion of network coverage here to make their submissions as soon as possible.”