- Beatrice Wishart, the MSP for Shetland, welcomed Virgin Media O2’s multi-million pound investment in the area during a visit to a new tower in Walls which will provide improved mobile coverage to the remote community
- As part of its commitment to the £1bn Shared Rural Network programme, Virgin Media O2 will either build or upgrade a total of six masts in Shetland over the next few months, transforming connectivity for residents, businesses and visitors
- The Highlands and Islands is among the rural areas set to benefit most from Shared Rural Network upgrades
24 January 2024: Beatrice Wishart, the MSP for Shetland, has welcomed Virgin Media O2’s investment to transform mobile connectivity on the Shetland Islands.
During a visit to one of the company’s new 4G phone masts in Walls, which will deliver a much-needed boost to mobile signal for communities in rural Shetland, the MSP was updated on Virgin Media O2’s plans to build or upgrade six masts in her constituency as part of the Shared Rural Network programme.
The new masts will provide much-needed improvements to 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services in the area where, until recently, large swathes of the islands have experienced little to no mobile signal from most mobile network operators.
Currently, just 26% of the Highlands and Islands benefits from 4G coverage from all four mobile network operators – Virgin Media O2, Vodafone, EE and Three. This will more than double to 68% after all Shared Rural Network upgrades have been delivered.
The upgrades will provide residents, businesses and visitors to the Shetland Islands with faster and more reliable mobile connectivity than ever before, making it easier to access online services, work and stay connected with friends and family, while also offering them a greater choice of mobile provider.
Beatrice Wishart, the MSP for Shetland, said: “Modern life is increasingly dependent on good digital connectivity, and I believe that every area of the UK should have access to it. Island communities such as Shetland deserve and require quality mobile connectivity, so I welcome Virgin Media O2’s work to bring that to them.”
“It is fantastic to see how the company is bringing mobile coverage to a ‘not spot’ area benefitting the local community which will have a positive impact for businesses, residents, and visitors. Virgin Media O2 is setting an example of how to properly invest in rural networks and long may it continue.”
Paul Kells, Director of Network, Strategy and Engineering at Virgin Media O2, said: “Our Shared Rural Network rollout is making a real, tangible difference to people’s lives. We’re continuing to play our part in bringing reliable 4G coverage to more rural locations across Britain and helping to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban communities.
“Rural Scotland is one of the places benefitting most from our investment, with new and upgraded masts already significantly improving the region’s mobile coverage. We are committed to continuing this rollout and bringing reliable mobile connectivity to more rural areas throughout 2024 and beyond.”
Alastair Davidson, Director of Strategy and Regulation at WIG, said: “Wireless Infrastructure Group are proud to deploy this site with Virgin Media O2 as part of the Shared Rural Network in Shetland. It’s a great example of how we deploy new multi-operator wireless infrastructure to hard-to-reach communities and adds to our portfolio of more than 3,000 towers across the UK.”
Source: O2 Blog