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EE, O2, Three and Vodafone questioned on Scotland mobile coverage

24 April 2018

The Scottish Affairs Committee questions UK's mobile network operators as part of its inquiry into digital connectivity.

Witnesses

Tuesday 24 April 2018, Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster

From 9.45am - community broadband networks

  • Dr Marwan Fayed, Director, High-Speed Universal Broadband Services, and Senior Lecturer, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Gordon Hughes, Director, High-Speed Universal Broadband Services, Chairman, StoboNet Community Broadband, and former Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh

From 10.30am - mobile service providers

  • Paul James, Head of Public Affairs, O2
  • Simon Miller, Deputy Head of Public Affairs, Three UK
  • Paul Morris, UK Head of Government Affairs, Vodafone
  • Richard Wainer, Head of Public Affairs, EE

Background of the session

Ofcom’s latest data shows that there are still large areas of Scotland where it is not possible to receive a mobile voice or data service. Having heard from experts, community groups, businesses and local authorities about the impact of “not-spots” and patchy coverage, the Committee will now speak to the operators themselves about the service they provide. MPs on the Committee will explore the challenges that operators face, particularly in remote rural areas, and investigate the potential solutions.

Both the UK and Scottish Governments have made policy commitments to improving current mobile coverage as well as preparing for future 5G technology. The Committee will examine the role operators play in fulfilling these commitments.

Mobile operators face similar challenges to internet providers in rural areas: barriers to deployment, commercial viability and geographical challenges. The Committee will also hear further evidence from community broadband providers, following on from a session with major internet service providers in March.

Chair's comment

Committee Chair, Pete Wishart, said:

"Scotland’s rural and urban areas alike rely upon mobile and broadband networks for their long-term vitality and economic competitiveness. It is essential that consumers and businesses are able to access a range of options when selecting their broadband and mobile providers, and that the services they ultimately choose are delivered as advertised.

We look forward to discussing how to achieve increased levels of coverage with the UK’s mobile network operators, as well as exploring innovative solutions for Scotland’s hard-to-reach areas. Their perspectives will help the Committee shape a solution that works for the whole of Scotland."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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