Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil this week met with EE and BT to discuss the rollout of the 4G Emergency Services Network (ESN) across the Hebrides.
Mr MacNeil has been persistently lobbying the UK government and mobile operators to ensure that improvements are made to mobile connectivity in the Hebrides.
Mr MacNeil had an informative and fruitful meeting with Duncan Warne from EE and Henry Parker from BT at Westminster.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“There are now 44 operational 4G masts across the Hebrides, 31 new masts have been built adding to the 13 masts which were previously in existence. There are another 8 new masts in the pipeline; 5 in Lewis, 1 in Harris, 1 in North Uist, 1 in South Uist and an upgrade of the mast on the west side of Barra.
“In Lewis there are currently 19 4G masts; 8 in Harris, 6 in North Uist, 1 in Benbecula, 5 in South Uist, 1 in Eriskay and 4 between Barra and Vatersay.
“I also raised the issue of 4G outages and calls dropping as people travel throughout the Hebrides. EE are aware of this, they have performance indicators and they will be aiming to improve the service.
“On some of the new mast sites there are issues with ownership and access, planning permission has been granted for most of them. EE tell me that we should have a continually improving 4G network in the Hebrides, the Emergency Services Network should be all be built by October 2020, and operational in the months thereafter.
“I hope that many people are finding the improvements to the 4G service to be useful in their daily lives, it has certainly been quite a struggle to get to this point but following my meeting with EE and BT, I am optimistic that progress is being made to enhance the 4G service.”