The Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust have worked in partnership to develop the Scottish 4G Infill Programme (S4GI). The S4GI programme’s aim is to deliver 4G LTE infrastructure and services to “not spots” in Scotland, and is backed with up to £25 million, which includes £10M from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support activity in the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland. In July 2018 WHP Telecoms (WHP) was appointed as the infrastructure provider for the programme.
WHP’s scope is to acquire, design and build the telecommunications sites. In addition, WHP are to manage the power and backhaul delivery to each site. This scope is fully funded by the S4GI programme. The provision of such infrastructure in remote “not spot” locations removes the significant commercial and operational barriers which have typically prevented mobile operators deploying to these locations.
The S4GI Programme will work with the mobile operator industry to identify suitable qualifying locations for the funded infrastructure, ensuring compliance with the European Commission’s Guidelines which set out how governments should apply the European Commission’s State Aid rules.
Connectivity is the lifeblood of remote areas; facilitating educational benefits, providing access to vital services, improving communications with the associated commercial benefits for local businesses, enabling e-commerce and working from home as well as enjoying access to social, media and gaming for leisure time activities. Connectivity provides the latent talent in these remote locations, a voice and an outlet to the wider world, allowing them to realise their potential without the need to move away.
Once the infrastructure has been deployed and 4G coverage delivered, the infrastructure will be managed and operated by WHP, providing site sharing services to the mobile operator market as well as ISPs and local community telecommunications initiatives.
Once the sites are operational, WHP will provide a S4GI Community Benefit Fund as a legacy of the S4GI programme which will be used to provide funding to local community groups to support connectivity related projects. Further details on how to apply will be made available on the WHP website in due course.
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