Scottish connectivity lags behind, official figures show

Press Releases 20 Dec 2019

Ofcom figures show Scottish 4G mobile coverage remains poorer than in the rest of the UK

A new report published by Ofcom today (Friday 20 December) shows Scottish broadband coverage is improving but that 4G mobile coverage in Scotland remains much poorer than elsewhere in the UK.

The official research finds that 4 per cent of properties in Scotland cannot receive high quality broadband, compared to 2 per cent in England and 3 per cent in Wales. However the study finds that the number of homes in Scotland with access to superfast (at least 30 Mbit/s) broadband has increased by over 89,000 since last year.

Table 1: Homes and Businesses unable to receive decent broadband from a fixed line by nation by rurality
Nations All Rural Urban
England 2%
Scotland 4%
Wales 3%
UK 2%

Source: Ofcom analysis of operator data 

On mobile coverage, the research finds that a fifth of Scotland’s land mass has no 4G coverage from any operator, while only 42 per cent of the country has 4G coverage from all mobile operators. By comparison, only 3 per cent of England’s land mass has no 4G coverage from any operator, and 81 per cent of the country has 4G coverage from all mobile operators.

Stuart Mackinnon, external affairs manager for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland, said: “Almost every poll of Scotland’s business community shows that addressing our sub-standard digital connectivity is a key priority for people looking to drive growth and create jobs. Today’s figures show that progress is too slow, especially when we recognise that everyone from HMRC to the big banks now expect every trader to have decent connectivity.

“While we see some progress regarding broadband, this data shows that Scotland’s mobile coverage is still unacceptably poor. Before the General Election, the UK Government unveiled a new deal with the mobile operators to address this long-standing problem. This new approach must deliver for Scotland as our businesses, communities and consumers are badly served at the moment.”


Notes to editors


About FSB

As experts in business, FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in Government. Its aim is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. 

Media contacts

Stuart Mackinnon
External Affairs Manager, Scotland
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07917 628 995