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07/03/14 10:30

Boost for mobile coverage

Consultation looks at simplifying planning procedures.

Proposals to speed up and improve mobile phone and digital coverage across Scotland will be discussed in a new consultation.

The Scottish Government is proposing to remove restrictions for operators looking to rollout 4G in Scotland by simplifying the planning process for the installation and maintenance of necessary apparatus and masts.

Members of the public are now being asked to put forward their views on the changes, which would encourage developers to make better use of existing sites.

Minister for Planning and Local Government Derek Mackay said:

“This consultation represents a further step on Scotland’s journey to becoming a world-leading digital nation by 2020.

“It will run for six weeks and suggests changes to support the rollout of digital infrastructure across Scotland. It will simplify the planning process for the installation and maintenance of important infrastructure and apparatus.

“The Scottish Government is committed to improving mobile coverage and 4G in Scotland. The proposals will encourage operators to make use of existing sites and does not relax the planning requirements for new masts.

“Our £410 million Step Change programme is already increasing the availability of superfast broadband across Scotland. Alongside commercial coverage, Step Change will ensure that 95 per cent of premises across Scotland will have access by 2017/18. The proposals in this consultation could speed up this process even further.”

Notes to editors

The six week consultation closes on 18 April and can be viewed at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Consultations/Current.

The Scottish Government today published a new report on the economic impacts of mobile communications. The report can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/03/6913.