£1bn rural network programme gives connectivity boost to Scottish communities

View across Tweeddale, from Manor Sware, Peebles, Scotland.
£1bn rural network programme gives connectivity boost to Scottish communities
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

John Lamont MP has welcomed the significant investment being made to upgrade connectivity throughout rural parts of Scotland during a visit to an existing Virgin Media O2 mast in the Scottish Borders.

As part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme, new masts will be built in the south of Scotland, while existing masts will also be upgraded. These network improvements will transform mobile coverage for individuals and businesses in the region, boost choice and productivity, and ensure customers are better connected than ever before.

By June 2024, 81% of the south of Scotland will have 4G coverage from all four operators, compared with 55% before the SRN was launched. Meanwhile, 74% of Scotland overall will have 4G coverage from all four operators – up from 44%.

Lamont, the MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, recently visited a mast in Denholm, a village in his constituency, to understand more about the works underway. The mast was first built several years ago for 2G mobile services and has recently been upgraded for 4G capability, providing customers with faster and more reliable connectivity fit for today’s needs.

Lamont said: “This significant investment to upgrade the mobile network is fantastic news for people across the Scottish Borders. These new masts will boost connectivity and help more people to get better mobile coverage.

“The Shared Rural Network is a great UK initiative that will transform mobile coverage for local people and businesses.”

Bruce Ferguson, mobile network delivery manager at Virgin Media O2, said: “We’re continuing to deliver on our mission to upgrade the UK, investing billions of pounds in our networks to enhance the services we offer our customers – especially in rural areas where improvements are desperately needed.

“Through the Shared Rural Network, we’re working closely with government and industry to bridge the digital divide and transform connectivity for local businesses, residents and tourists in rural areas, allowing them to get online more easily than ever before. With more sites being upgraded and built throughout the year, people in rural Scotland will soon benefit from greatly improved mobile services.”

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