Ahead of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands (CoHI) today (12th March) Wireless Infrastructure Group is pleased to announce that the rural Highland communities of Milton, Kildary and surrounding areas are to benefit from better mobile coverage and improved internet connectivity. Built and operated by Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), the new 50-metre tower at Milton was developed in partnership with O2 who has now switched on 4G from the tower which will serve its customers in the region. In addition to serving the local communities of Milton and Kildary the tower will also cover 15 miles along the A9. The tower has been designed and built with the capacity to offer access to all mobile network operators as well as other rural wireless networks, enabling them to provide voice and high speed mobile data communications to their customers in surrounding rural communities. The new tower is located at a Scottish Water facility and is part of a successful and growing partnership between WIG and Scottish Water that has already delivered the infrastructure to enable 4G to over 150 Scottish communities. The location was carefully selected after planning consultation with the local community. Delivering connectivity to rural areas can often only be achieved through investment in more substantial infrastructure and WIG’s tower in this instance has been designed and built to a height that will enable an estimated three times the 4G signal range compared to traditional telecoms masts – equivalent to an extra 10 miles of the A9. The CoHI seeks to strengthen alignment between the Scottish Government and member organisations in order to develop sustainable economic growth, and the meeting in Millport is set to be attended by the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP and the Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart MSP. Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see the difference that projects like WIG’s are making to rural connectivity across Scotland.
“Investment in higher capacity mobile infrastructure is key to bringing digital services to the communities of the Highlands and Islands. We are working to deliver improved mobile connectivity across Scotland, exemplified by today’s announcement on the new 4G Infill Mobile Programme.
“WIG’s investment in the new tower at Milton, along with others they are deploying across Scotland, is a great example of what can be achieved when the industry and public sector collaborates”.
Scott Coates, chief executive of WIG, said: “This new tower is part of a much wider investment programme targeting rural mobile not spots in Scotland where we plan to double our presence over the next three years. Milton is a great example of the difference that investment in high capacity infrastructure can make to rural connectivity and the importance of collaboration in delivering it.” “WIG has ambitions to invest £1bn in UK digital infrastructure, targeting connectivity challenges in hard to reach areas through infrastructure solutions ranging from rural towers like Milton to fibre connected small cells in buildings and on city streets. WIG is seeking to become Transport for London (TfL) wireless infrastructure partner to help transform connectivity below and above the streets of London.” Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Network Officer, O2 said: “We recognise that connectivity is essential in helping local communities and businesses across the Highlands and Islands continue to grow. Last year, we launched 4G in over 80 towns, villages and hamlets across the region and we’re committed to bring 4G to more rural locations. We’re continuing to invest in innovative measures, such as the 50-metre mast, to ensure our customers in the region have reliable 4G coverage regardless of landscape or weather conditions.”