Last Friday, May 18, 2012, Angus MacNeil MP hosted the second annual Hebridean Communications Summit in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland. Representatives from the Comhairle, the Police, HM Coastguard, Connected Communities, Everything Everywhere, Vodafone, O2 and, OFCOM were present to discuss the problems in the Outer Hebrides. Other community stakeholders from the community were also represented.

Both long and short term goals were discussed at the meeting including: locating and eliminating not-spots and partial not-spots in the Hebrides and how deal more effectively with island’s problem with signal outages.  Long term goals focused on preparing the islands for 4G coverage.

Speaking after the meeting Angus MacNeil MP said,

“Over the next few months we will identify the ferry terminals and airports that can use signal boosting equipment to improve signal quality with Vodafone.

“Mobile phone companies will re-assess their placement of Femtocell sites based on new information gathered from the conference.

“For the second year in a row we have met here in Stornoway so that the key players in the industry and OFCOM can see what we are dealing with on a daily basis.

“In areas that suffer from very poor to non-existent coverage we will work to push both the Edinburgh and, especially, Westminster Governments for funding that targets these communities to bring coverage to them.

“Mobile companies have also been made aware of islands based repair crews that are highly trained and can address outages much faster than we currently see.

“OFCOM are committed to investigating certain economic barriers that make it harder to get good coverage in the Hebrides.

“We will all be working together to insure that the Western Isles are not overlooked on 4G as we were on 3G.The industry is willing to help so I need everyone to continue to tell me about signal failures and faults.

“This is proving to be a slow grind but one we cannot give up on for the sake of the social and economic wellbeing of our islands.