Kirstene Hair MP has welcomed the news that the first of thirteen new mobile phone masts across the rural Angus and the glens is now operational.
The new masts are part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN), funded by the UK Government, will also be used to improve coverage for members of the public.
The ESN is the network that allows the police, fire and rescue and the ambulance services to communicate and collaborate. The new system will operate across the entire UK and will deliver further benefits by saving taxpayers over £200 million compared with other systems.
In response to a parliamentary question from Angus MP Kirstene Hair, the Home Office have confirmed that there will be 13 new masts in total with the first at Farnell already active.
The remaining 12 masts will be built at sites in Glen Clova, Glen Esk, Glen Lethnot, Glen Prosen, Dykehead, Edzell, Blackwater Resevoir, Craigmeg, Folda and Balintore. Building work will be completed at 5 sites by the end of the year with construction work completed on the rest by September next year.
The Home Office have also confirmed that all but one of the new masts will be sharable by multiple networks to enable as many people as possible in the Glens to receive better coverage and retain competition.
The news comes soon after the announcement that Ms Hair backed a proposal from the mobile industry would see the creation of a ‘Shared Rural Network’ to extend mobile overage into hard to reach areas. Ms Hair and a cross-party group of MPs wrote to the UK Government to make the case for the proposal believing it would boost opportunities for rural education, business and leisure.
Kirstene Hair MP said:
“I am delighted that the UK Government is taking action to improve mobile coverage here in Angus.
Ensuring that all roads in Angus can access the Emergency support Network is a vital safety improvement and to work with industry to improve domestic coverage using the same infrastructure is a sensible initiative.
Far too many people are currently having to do without reliable service, and that affects their ability to stay in touch with friends and family, run their businesses and access services. That is unacceptable in this day and age.
I have been campaigning on this issue since before I was elected, and it is fantastic to see the UK Government investing in such a vital network for our emergency services to keep my constituents safe. These new masts will also be a huge boost for some of Angus’ most remote communities who have warmly welcomed this initiative.”