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New measures to improve connections

Rates relief aims to tackle mobile ‘Notspots’

Derek MackayBusiness rates relief will be among measures introduced to tackle so-called mobile ‘Notspots’ in remote and rural areas.

Islands Minister Derek Mackay(pictured)  announced that a pilot scheme will encourage the provision of mobile services in remote and rural areas with no current or planned coverage.

Lasting for a period of five years, the rates relief is part of a wider package of measures under consideration to encourage investment, which could potentially include further relaxation of planning legislation, usage of public sector assets, and the capital subsidy of masts.

The pilot areas – two within Arran and one within Cairngorm – were chosen as they are long-established Notspots where preliminary work to deliver community mobile projects has already been undertaken by the Scottish Futures Trust, on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Mr Mackay said: “Ensuring that everyone in Scotland has access to high quality digital connectivity is a priority for the Scottish Government. It underpins our economic strategy – helping our businesses grow through accessing new markets while ensuring that people can work flexibly from anywhere in Scotland.

“We are demonstrating early support to Mobile Network Operators while monitoring the impact the relief has on delivering improved connectivity. If successful, we will look to extend this scheme throughout Scotland to ensure that no area is left behind.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to removing barriers to investment in mobile and this pilot forms part of a wider action plan designed to maximise 4G mobile coverage in Scotland which we are developing in collaboration with the industry.”

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