Mobile providers need to make better use of existing facilities to boost ‘black spots’

Mobile phone operators are being urged to make better use of existing infrastructure in order to boost mobile signal in the Borders.

The issue has been raised by Upper Liddesdale & Hermitage Community Council whose residents have been suffering from poor mobile phone signal.

While BT owned EE has recently installed its own masts in the area, the emergency service masts, one at Singdean on the Hobkirk to Newcastleton road and one at Powisholm, just north of Newcastleton, are not being used by any mobile provider.

After being contacted by Upper Liddesdale and Hermitage Community Council, John Lamont MP has written to mobile phone operators to urge them to make use of these ready-made masts.

John Lamont MP said: “I understand that mobile phone operators are sometimes reluctant to make use of existing masts because of the costs associated.

“However, it is hugely frustrating for residents to be putting up with poor mobile signal in places where they see these masts are already up.

“There is a simple fix for sorting out these mobile phone black spots and that is for us to make better use of existing facilities, be that publicly owned buildings or masts already in place.

“As with broadband, residents in many rural parts of the Borders are paying the same as everyone else for a much poorer service. Mobile phone operators need to work much faster to sort this unfairness out.”

Robert Scott, Vice Chairman of Upper Liddesdale & Hermitage Community Council added: “A lack of mobile phone signal has been a huge issue for many communities in my area. Having mobile phone and broadband coverage is a necessity for businesses in the area and a lack of signal will be putting people off moving here.

“Having a mobile signal for the safety of people working on rural farms and in forestry is also really important.

“It is surely good practice for mobile phone providers make sure there is a signal especially where there are already mobile masts constructed to provide the signal to the rural areas rather than just the more densely populated areas.”