Over the Christmas break I've received lots of emails about the importance of high quality mobile service to my constituents and specifically about introducing a 30% cap in Ofcom's release of the total available mobile phone spectrum in the UK.
Improving mobile coverage is a high priority for the Scottish Government. We agree that mobile operators need to do more to expand 4G coverage in Scotland. To do so, we are working closely with the industry through our Mobile Action Plan. This aims to improve and increase coverage across Scotland. It includes an infill programme to extend coverage into rural areas not served by commercial rollout. We will announce our proposals for a Mobile Infill Programme by Spring 2017. Furthermore the Scottish Government are working with the UK Government to maximise the impact of the UK Government’s 4G-based Emergency Services Network and the development of a Mobile Infill Project.
Regarding the allocation of mobile phone spectrum in the UK, we are seeking a change in the use and allocation of the mobile phone spectrum. My SNP colleague, Calum Kerr MP, has been leading on this matter in Westminster and recently secured a debate on the release of the 700MHz spectrum band for mobile data in 2020, where he called for a better deal for Scotland. My SNP colleagues and I are sympathetic to the idea of a cap for Ofcom’s release of mobile spectrum and we will be calling for a review of future and existing mobile phone spectrum allocation.
Four weeks ago I was worried about writing this column on the eve of the last major parliamentary debate on Brexit. Anything could have happened, rendering my speculation obsolete by the time you read it. I shouldn’t have fretted. Anything could have happened but nothing did.
Here I am again. Groundhog day. It’s Tuesday. There’s a big debate tomorrow.
Tuesday. Another day spent discussing Brexit. Another day of my life I’m not getting back.
We are no further forward. As the clock ticks down to exit it’s only fair to ask: What the hell is Theresa May playing at?