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Northern Isles MP secures meeting over digital services

Orkney MP Alistair Carmichael has secured a meeting with communications minister, Ed Vaizey MP, to highlight that benefits that improving digital services would have for communities across the Northern Isles.

Mr Carmichael contacted the Department for Culture, Media and Sport after Shetland MSP Tavish Scott met with the Mobile Operators Association last month to discuss how coverage across the Northern Isles could be strengthened. Mr Carmichael will press the minister on a number of issues relating to broadband internet and mobile phone network coverage in “hard to reach” areas.

Mr Carmichael said: ‘The Government has made clear that it is committed to improving digital services in areas such as the Highlands and Islands which have traditionally been left behind when it comes to network improvements and other technical developments. The challenges posed by our unique geography should not be underestimated but solutions are available and Ministers need to be working with industry to deliver improvements in services.

“Government cannot do everything, but, where finance is available, it is important that Orkney and Shetland are in a position to benefit. Our internet and mobile phone services are amongst the poorest in the country and improvements would have a clear social and economic benefit for communities around the Isles.

“There are still many areas of the Northern Isles where mobile phone signal is simply not available and it is important that this fact is taken on board in Whitehall. This is a point that I will make forcefully during my meeting with the minister.”

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