• Virgin Media O2 has used a helicopter to deliver three new 4G mobile phone masts to the remote Uist islands in the Outer Hebrides, which has been welcomed by the local MSP, Alasdair Allan, in a visit to the new sites
  • As part of its commitment to the £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme, Virgin Media O2 has built more than any other operator, including building three new masts in the area over a single Bank holiday weekend
  • The upgrades will address a partial not-spot and provide residents, as well as businesses and visitors, with faster and more reliable mobile connectivity than ever before

Alasdair Allan, the MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has welcomed Virgin Media O2’s investment in his constituency during a visit to three new masts that were built in Uist and are providing a significant boost to mobile connectivity in the area.

During a visit to the company’s new 4G masts in the area, which were flown in by helicopter to the remote location during the May bank holiday weekend, the MSP was updated on Virgin Media O2’s progress in building more than 35 sites in Na h-Eileanan an Iar as part of the Shared Rural Network Programme.

Thanks to upgrade works underway, the area is set to benefit from a complete transformation in mobile connectivity which will tackle countless not-spots and areas of patchy signal. The upgrades will provide residents, as well as businesses and visitors, with faster and more reliable mobile connectivity than ever before, making it easier to access online services and stay connected with friends and family, while also offering a greater choice of provider.

Currently, over 20% of the area lacks 4G coverage from all four mobile network operators – Virgin Media O2, Vodafone, EE and Three – with signal blackspots creating an issue for local people and visitors alike. The Shared Rural Network upgrade programme is set to help tackle this, providing essential connectivity to people in historic not-spots such as this.

Alasdair Allan, the MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, said: “I am delighted to see further Virgin Media O2 investment in my constituency that will help ensure that my constituents have access to reliable mobile connectivity. Rural areas like Uist have previously been at a disadvantage when it comes to connectivity, so there is no doubt that these upgrades will have a significant impact.”

“It is fantastic to see how the company is bringing mobile coverage to this beautiful part of the world, which will have a positive impact for the businesses, residents, and visitors to the area. I believe that Virgin Media O2 is really setting an example of how to properly invest in rural networks.”

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are absolutely committed to bringing reliable mobile coverage to even more rural communities across the UK, having built or upgraded more sites than any other operator as part of the Shared Rural Network programme. This work is absolutely vital in closing the urban-rural digital divide that exists in the UK.”

“Many rural parts of Scotland are already benefiting from our rollout of new and upgraded masts, and we are delighted to bring enhanced mobile connectivity to the beautiful area of Uist. We are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to bringing connectivity to rural communities, with our team using helicopters to deliver three new masts to Uist over the recent Bank Holiday weekend. Our Shared Rural Network rollout continues at pace, with more locations set to benefit in the near future.”

Alasdair Allan MSP’s visit took place just weeks after Virgin Media O2 announced it had built or upgraded a landmark 150 company-managed Shared Rural Network sites. This means the operator has gone further than any other to deliver new infrastructure as part of the SRN programme.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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