MP calls for action on Arran phone service
Arran has been badly let down by the UK government, an MP has said.
North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson has spoken of her concern at the continued lack of UK government action to improve mobile phone coverage on Arran, where so called ‘not-spots’ mean people are unable to call for help in an emergency.
Mrs Gibson said: ‘Powers over mobile coverage are reserved to the UK government and for rural and island communities, often isolated and economically fragile, this should be a top priority. Action is urgently needed to deliver effective coverage across Arran.
‘Without UK Government pressure, the decision to provide mobile coverage is a commercial one for mobile network operators. This has left much of Arran with either a poor service or none at all.
‘Former UK minister for culture, communications and creative industries Ed Vaizey MP promised coverage on Arran would be rolled out by 2015. This never happened and there are still too many ‘notspots’ on the island. Apart from being hugely inconvenient, this is potentially dangerous when there is a medical emergency. Indeed, the emergency medical retrieval service has said Arran should be the number one priority for mobile coverage in Scotland.
‘Arran has been badly let down by the UK government. Having raised this issue again with the new minister, I was very disappointed to be told mobile phone users dialling 999 are able to roam onto another network if they have no signal from their own provider – advice which is completely unhelpful if you are in an Arran ‘notspot’ where there is no signal from any provider.
‘It is imperative blackspots are plugged for the good of residents and visitors. It is unacceptable Arran’s communities continue to be left behind.’
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Patricia Gibson MP.