Coll gets mobile coverage for first time

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SCOTS island is finally set to get mobile phone coverage for the first time as they are dragged into the 21st century.

The Hebridean island of Coll is due to get mobile signal this year with construction under way on the island’s first mobile phone mast.

It is hoped that the 50ft phone mast, which will allow reception on the island, will be of huge benefit to the 200 residents and will also help emergency services, including the local GP.

The £165,000 project is being funded by a partnership between community-run organisation Development Coll, the Scottish Government and Vodafone.

It is part of the Scottish Government’s Demonstrating Digital Programme, which will also test the model of community ownership of a mobile mast in a location not previously seen as ‘commercially viable’ by mobile operators.

Lavina Maclean-Bristol, chairwoman of Development Coll said: “This is an exciting new development for Coll, and Development Coll is very grateful to the Scottish Government for choosing us to pioneer mobile services throughout the island.”

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The mobile phone service will make a huge difference to the community, businesses and tourists on the Isle of Coll, as well as for critical emergency services on the island such as the local GP and fire and rescue. This is one of a number of projects that the Scottish Government has developed, in conjunction with local partners, as part of our Demonstrating Digital programme, which aims to test new technologies and business models, accelerating our ambition to be a world-class digital nation by 2020.

Fergal Kelly, chief technology officer of Vodaphone UK, said: “Delivering mobile infrastructure to hard-to-reach rural areas is extremely difficult.

“We have been able to bring mobile coverage to the island by working in partnership with the Scottish Government and Development Coll.

“This means people and businesses on the island will be able to benefit from the huge social and economic benefits that having mobile coverage and access to the internet can bring.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that certain areas of Scotland had the worst mobile phone reception in the UK.

While cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen had near complete coverage, areas in the Highlands and Perthshire having just 30% coverage.

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