Digital Connectivity Inquiry to hear from mobile operators

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The Scottish Affairs Committee continue their inquiry into digital connectivity on Tuesday 24 April when they hear from the UK’s mobile network operators.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will give evidence to the Committee about their action to improve mobile coverage in Scotland.

Ofcom’s latest data shows that there are still large areas of Scotland where it is not possible to receive a mobile voice or data service.

Having heard from experts, community groups, businesses and local authorities about the impact of “not-spots” and patchy coverage, the Committee will now speak to the operators themselves about the service they provide.

MPs on the Committee will explore the challenges that operators face, particularly in remote rural areas, and investigate the potential solutions.

Both the UK and Scottish Governments have made policy commitments to improving current mobile coverage as well as preparing for future 5G technology.

The Committee will examine the role operators play in fulfilling these commitments.

Mobile operators face similar challenges to internet providers in rural areas: barriers to deployment, commercial viability and geographical challenges.

The Committee will also hear further evidence from community broadband providers, following on from a session with major internet service providers in March.

Committee Chair Pete Wishart said: “Scotland’s rural and urban areas alike rely upon mobile and broadband networks for their long-term vitality and economic competitiveness.

“It is essential that consumers and businesses are able to access a range of options when selecting their broadband and mobile providers, and that the services they ultimately choose are delivered as advertised.

“We look forward to discussing how to achieve increased levels of coverage with the UK’s mobile network operators, as well as exploring innovative solutions for Scotland’s hard-to-reach areas.

“Their perspectives will help the Committee shape a solution that works for the whole of Scotland.”