An EE mobile phone shop in Shetland, details on when local areas will get broadband investment and more money for Shetland broadband were all raised at the recent Shetland Digital Forum chaired by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott. Representatives from EE, BT and Highlands and Islands Enterprise gave presentations on the present status of mobile and broadband in Shetland at Islesburgh on Saturday. More than 40 people came including representatives of Shetland Telecom, the SIC and many community councils across Shetland.
Tavish Scott said:
‘‘EE are now obliged to provide geographic voice coverage across 90% of the UK landmass by 2017, which includes Shetland. This is the new emergency call coverage system and could really help mobile phone coverage across all parts of Shetland. I look forward to seeing EE’s rollout over the coming months, with 15 new sites for 4G mobile phone masts in the pipeline. I also welcome the excellent suggestion for an EE shop in Lerwick and I have written to the company’s chief executive to press for this.
‘‘On broadband, many residents spoke of their understandable frustration with the misleading map on the Digital Scotland website, which colour codes areas of Scotland based on fibre broadband coverage, green meaning available, pink coming soon and purple indicating planning stage. However residents in many ‘‘pink areas’’ such as Gott and Walls have learned that they will receive no significant improvement if they live more than a mile from the exchange. Even some in ‘‘green areas’’ such as Cunningsburgh and Gulberwick have complained that they are unable to receive superfast broadband while their neighbours are able to. Shetland residents deserve not just answers but action and greater clarity from BT, HIE and the Scottish Government.
‘‘The most frustrating case I have heard in recent weeks comes from a Uyeasound resident, who told me that she is unable to view online learning videos for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service because her broadband is so woeful.
‘‘It is vital for outlying Shetland communities to have access to superfast broadband, so residents and businesses can remain in their communities. I have written to the Deputy First Minister John Swinney, to emphasise the importance of spending a significant amount of the £42million allocated for the next phase of superfast broadband here in Shetland and other hard-to-reach areas.’’
Tavish Scott added:
‘‘The crime drama Shetland was screened on Friday. I am sure most Shetlanders were most amused that Perez was able to talk so easily on his mobile in Northmavine or the Westside. That is where the TV series very definitely becomes fiction. I am pleased to say that there have been no recent murders in Shetland; nor has mobile phone coverage reached all the islands.”