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Virgin Media O2’s 50th Shared Rural Network site brings 4G coverage to Highlands village

Staff Reporter
May 15, 2023

Virgin Media O2 has commissioned its 50th site as part of the £1 billion  Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme.

The SRN is a joint initiative between mobile network operators and the UK Government to extend 4G connectivity to 95 per cent of the UK’s landmass by the end of 2025.

The Shared Rural Network means 84 per cent of the UK will get 4G coverage from all four mobile network operators, with 95 per cent having 4G connectivity provided by at least one operator.

Scottish Highlands village Helmsdale is the 50th site to get 4G connectivity after Virgin Media O2 upgraded an existing mast in the area.

Of the 50 rural sites that have been built or upgraded so far, 39 are in remote parts of Scotland. This includes 10 in the Argyll and Bute region. Another 11 are in rural parts of Yorkshire, Suffolk and Kent.

Virgin Media O2 has got planning consent for works at a further 100 sites, and work will start “in the near future”.

Many rural communities are unable to access the same level of connectivity as urban areas so we’re committed to delivering improvements through the Shared Rural Network programme said Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2,

We’ll continue building new masts and upgrading existing ones across various remote UK locations to tackle the urban-rural digital divide.”

York: committed to delivering improvements through the Shared Rural Network programme

Rural parts of Scotland have had 39 Virgin Media O2 masts either installed or upgraded. Around a quarter of these are in Argyll and Bute, while further connectivity improvements have been delivered in Aberdeenshire, the Scottish Borders, the Hebrides, the Highlands, Stirling, Fife, Dumfries, East Lothian and Perth and Kinross.

EE last month expanded its mobile network to  4G connectivity to a further 1,500 remote countryside communities across the UK, including Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. (See story HERE).


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