ARGYLL and Bute Council is working with communities, phone companies and independent regulator Ofcom to ensure that mobile phone coverage across the area is improved.
At a meeting on Thursday 24 January, councillors considered a report outlining the current position regarding the availability and quality of mobile phone coverage across Argyll and Bute.
Communications regulator Ofcom published a full review of the communications infrastructure in the UK in November 2011. This report highlighted around 80,000 British ‘not spots’ – areas where there is no mobile phone network coverage.
In Argyll and Bute, 19.1 per cent of the area has no reliable mobile phone signal – with no consistent 3G signal available in 82 per cent of the region. Some business premises also have issues with access to signals or the 3G network.
More consistent access to the 3G network would enable council staff, along with private sector companies and our communities, to work more quickly and efficiently – and ultimately deliver better services to the people of Argyll and Bute.
To help make sure that this happens, councillors have requested that Argyll and Bute Council policy, strategy and actions focuses on working with communities, communications companies and Ofcom to develop plans to maximise coverage across Argyll and Bute.
This will include the identification of mobile ‘not spots’ for 2G and 3G signals across Argyll and Bute, as well as looking at the development plans of various mobile providers and their impact on local coverage.
The council will also make plans with partner organisations to ensure that more is done to improve the quality of mobile phone coverage in Argyll and Bute.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Lead Councillor for Development Infrastructure John Semple said: “This is a key issue for Argyll and Bute and the people who live, work and visit here.
“We want to do everything we can to improve the potential of our area, and making sure that people and businesses can communicate effectively using a reliable network is a major part of that.
“There is government funding available to improve mobile phone reception in areas of poor coverage. Mobile phone providers have also agreed mast sharing arrangements and this should mean significant coverage improvement across Argyll and Bute.
“We look forward to working closely with partners to ensure that Argyll and Bute can access the best that 21st century technology has to offer.”