MSP calls for better digital coverage in Carrick

CARRICK MSP Adam Ingram has urged local authorities to get involved in bringing better mobile phone coverage and improved internet links to the area.

Digital infrastructure in the area is currently “very poor” according to the MSP, with some areas like Barr having no coverage at all.

Mr Ingram has welcomed a commitment from the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil MSP during Question Time in the Scottish Parliament to improve mobile phone and broadband connectivity.

Mr Ingram asked what the current position was on second generation (2G) digital coverage and what steps the Scottish Government would be taking to ensure all of Scotland has access to digital infrastructure, including mobile telephony and how they will succeed in making the 2015 targets.

These targets are to deliver broadband speeds of 40-80 Mbps for 85-90% of premises in Scotland and to deliver best possible speeds for those where delivery of 40-80 Mbps is not possible.

In his response the Cabinet Secretary said he had made representations to Jeremy Hunt, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport to ensure that the UK Government’s mobile infrastructure project, the aim of which is to increase 2G coverage to 99 per cent throughout the UK, has maximum possible impact in Scotland for both voice and data coverage.

To date the project has failed to bring Scotland up to the levels achieved in England. In addition the Scottish Government will hold a series of workshops with local government which will be held in the summer to progress the implementation of the 2015 targets.

Commenting on the response from the Cabinet Secretary Mr Ingram said: “Digital infrastructure here in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley is very poor, especially in outlying areas like the village of Barr where there is currently no access to any digital infrastructure, including mobile telephony.

“Whilst I am encouraged by the commitment from the Cabinet Secretary and the recognition of the importance of further improving mobile coverage, including 2G voice coverage, across Scotland I would urge Ayrshire councils to participate fully in the workshops organised by the Scottish Government to progress the implementation plan and ensure our local communities are supported by adequate digital infrastructure.”