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Ofcom report reveals only two fifths of Scotland has acceptable 4G - FSB calls for further action to boost digital connectivity

A new report from Ofcom published today shows rapid improvement in superfast broadband availability in Scotland, though businesses and citizens north of the border still suffer from the poorest 4G geographic mobile coverage in the UK by a substantial margin. 

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland says that the Scottish Government must deliver on their pledge to deliver universal superfast broadband. Further the UK Government and Ofcom must take stronger action to improve Scottish mobile coverage.

Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2018 states that only two fifths (38%) of Scotland’s geographic area can get good 4G services from all operators in comparison to four fifths (82%) of England. 

However the study highlights that 92 per cent of Scottish premises can now get a superfast connection, in comparison to 87 per cent in 2017. 94 per cent of premises in England can now get a broadband superfast connection, up two per cent on 2017. 93 per cent of premises in Wales can now get a superfast broadband connection, up from 87 per cent in 2017. And in Northern Ireland, 89 per cent of premises now have enhanced broadband connectivity, in comparison to 85 per cent last year. 

Andrew McRae, the FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Consumers and businesses in Scotland are paying as much for their mobile phones as counterparts elsewhere in the UK for a service, which this report illustrates, is far worse. While it is good to see Ofcom note that this is unsatisfactory, we need to see action from them, the UK Government and mobile operators to address this long-standing problem. 

“On the other hand, this publication also underlines that Scotland is making good progress on superfast broadband provision, though we still lag both England and Wales. We strongly support the Scottish Government’s ambition on this front – though we would underline that expectations amongst communities and firms are very high and they must deliver. 

“From next April, over one hundred thousand Scottish businesses will have to update their tax keep records digitally, as part of the Making Tax Digital programme. This change will bring problems regarding Scottish digital connectivity to the fore.”