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Orkney MSP demands answers over delay in 4G rollout as Minister admits delay

Generic 4G logo
Generic 4G logo

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has demanded answers over the “lack of progress” in rolling out 4G on the island.

Mr McArthur, who said he had repeatedly asked for status updates, has now submitted a parliamentary question on the matter and wants a progress report on the current locations in Burray, Hoy and Stromness.

The MSP wrote to mobile phone operators last July to encourage them to engage in constructive consultation for the programme in Orkney.

It came after Connectivity and Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse admitted that since last April, no new proposed mast locations had been identified.

Mr Wheelhouse also revealed that despite regular engagement with mobile operators, none had committed to using the candidate mast locations.

Liam McArthur MSP

Mr McArthur, responding to the revelation, said: “It is disappointing to see that progress in closing gaps in mobile phone coverage across Orkney appears to have stalled.

“While the minister has provided assurances that discussions with mobile phone companies are ongoing, there is no sign they are prepared to engage seriously.

“Sites have been identified in Stromness, Hoy and Burray, yet people and businesses in these communities are missing out on the better mobile coverage that should be available.

“Meantime, efforts to identify new sites appear to have come to a complete halt.

“That is not good enough.”

He added: “Ministers and mobile phone operators clearly agreed that public money was needed to plug existing gaps in the network.

“Since then, however, neither has been prepared to follow this up with action on the ground.

“As a result, we now have a 4G Infill Programme that is doing next to no infilling.

“I will be urging ministers to investigate why so little progress has been made and reiterating the need to get the programme back on track”.

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