Lighthouses could boost mobile phone cover
A BRIGHT idea to put lighthouses at the centre of mobile phone coverage for the islands and West Highlands has met with a good response from providers.
Mobile companies EE and Vodafone are keen to promote the idea and Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil says it might be the solution to gaps in coverage.
Mr MacNeil was delighted to receive a positive response from the Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) which has indicated a willingness to work with mobile operators to make progress in this area.
Mr MacNeil had contacted NLB following a query from EE on the use of sites which could allow them to improve coverage.
This could mean NLB would allow operators to use its facilities to enhance coverage in the Western Isles, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and across the West Highland islands.
Mr MacNeil said: ‘I wrote to NLB at the end of last year after discussions with mobile operators on how to escalate the timetable for bringing 4G to the area. NLB has said that it is committed to developing the Scottish economy and is therefore open to discussions with mobile providers on where opportunities might lie.
‘I would like to thank NLB for its prompt, sensible response and its ability to see the bigger picture.
‘I have already received confirmation from Vodafone that 4G will be delivered to the islands within the next two years but the sooner all companies have infrastructure in place to do this, the better for the economy of the islands.
‘I look forward to further discussions with operators and NLB on how we can take this forward.’
Extension of the mobile networks is dependent on the roll out and availability of fibre broadband as this is needed to connect masts to the core network. Following discussions with Mr MacNeil, BT has also given a commitment to work closely with mobile operators to support development of coverage extension.