Team North East: Candidates give backing to mobile ‘not spots’ summit

The five SNP candidates for the North East are supporting the move which will call for more access to deal with mobile coverage not-spots
The five SNP candidates for the North East are supporting the move which will call for more access to deal with mobile coverage not-spots

SNP General Election candidates in the North East have backed a call by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to deal with mobile ‘not spots’ across the region.

Earlier this month it was revealed a summit would be called with providers by the Cabinet Secretary for the rural economy and connectivity Fergus Ewing.

Now the five SNP candidates for the North East have supported the move which will call for more access to deal with mobile coverage ‘not-spots’.

A recent survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) revealed of more than 1,400 businesses surveyed, around 70% of firms often experience difficulty with coverage.

As a result, many have been impeded by a complete lack of mobile coverage while some also experience ‘partial not-spots’ in which there is available coverage from some networks and not others.

Meanwhile businesses situated in rural areas were found to be more likely to experience ‘not-spots’ compared to those within inner city locations.

And another 54% of businesses in rural areas and 29% of firms in cities reported they have unreliable mobile internet connections.

Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine SNP candidate Stuart Donaldson said: “In the past two years I have lobbied the UK Government, Ofcom and network providers to improve mobile phone signals in the rural areas of the North East.

“Many individuals and small businesses rely heavily on being connected but far too many of them in Aberdeenshire and the rest of the North East have little or no phone signal.

“The Scottish Government is making strides towards rolling out high-speed broadband to all homes by 2021 and the UK Government has to make a commitment to ensure mobile network providers do the same to help our rural communities thrive and survive.”