Better mobile phone reception in Rwanda than Western Isles

THE UK’s leading communications companies will be in Stornoway next week to discuss mobile phone coverage and Broadband signal in the Western Isles, writes Michelle Robson.

They will meet with local emergency services who experience problems due to patchy coverage.

They will also discuss the issues with representatives from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and to try and work towards solutions.

Organised by Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, the Hebridean Communications Summit will feature presentations by the Faroese Telecoms who have achieved 100 per cent coverage in the Faroes in the face of similar logistical challenges to the Hebrides.

There will also be presentations by the local coastguard, police and ambulance services to map out the problems they face in terms of mobile phone signal.

Lack of 3G coverage which can be used by emergency services for the transfer of data is unavailable in large areas of the Western Isles.

Mr MacNeil explained that the purpose of the summit was to allow a discussion to take place between local agencies and the communications companies and to possibly find some solutions.

He said these services could have potentially life saving benefits for the emergency services and pointed out that countries like Rwanda and Iraq had better mobile phone coverage than the Western Isles.

Vodafone, O2 and T Mobile will all be present at the summit which will take place in the Cabarfeidh Hotel next Friday (May 20th) but it is not open to the public.