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29 August 2016

Fixing Scotland's mobile problem

Scotland’s patchy mobile coverage is a national embarrassment. Making it easier for mobile firms to improve their masts is a simple measure that could help address this chronic problem.

Nine in 10 small businesses say that a mobile phone is important to their operations. Unfortunately Scotland lags behind England on every measure of mobile connectivity.lady checking phone on bus

As a consequence, tourists to England will find it easier to look up where to go out for a meal or spend a night. Their sales teams will experience fewer dropped calls when trying to close a deal. More of their engineers will be able to look at important documents while on the move. And lastly, their kids will have much more success catching Pokemon.

While loosening our old-fashioned planning laws isn’t the complete solution, it should make it easier for you to make a call or download a photograph.

Earlier this year, the island of Barra lost its mobile signal for around a month. Firms reported irate suppliers, lost bookings and frustrated visitors. Imagine the boost we’d bring if we brought good coverage to areas that have never received it.

While governments in Edinburgh and London have a duty to press mobile operators to improve their services to Scottish businesses and citizens, we must do our bit to make Scotland a great place to invest in. Revising outdated planning laws sound like a great place to start.


Andy Willox is Scottish policy convenor for the Federation of Small Businesses  

A version of this article first appeared in the Sunday Post.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposals to change the planning system to try and improve coverage. 


Lobbying & Campaigning from FSB

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