Dumfries and Galloway MP Richard Arkless has heavily criticised the local Council for failing to communicate with an organisation keen to expand 4G connectivity into the region.

CTIL (Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited), provides the network infrastructure that enables telecoms operators to deploy mobile telephony and 4G coverage over specific geographical areas. Vodafone need this work done so they can improve their coverage region wide.

In September last year CTIL contacted Mr Arkless to express their concern that despite numerous attempts, they have been unable to meet with Dumfries and Galloway Council to discuss expanding the infrastructure available to telecoms companies throughout the region.

Commenting Mr Arkless said:

“I was astonished when this company told me they couldn’t get a response from the Council. It beggars belief when we see the substandard mobile connections we suffer in Dumfries and Galloway.”

“I met with Labour Councillor Colin Smyth after I received this news and told him that I didn’t want to publicise their failure as I just wanted the job done. He assured me it would be done.

“I called CTIL this week to see whether progress had been made. I was furious to discover that the Council had still not responded. CTIL tell me the cooperation they need from the Council is minimal.

“As with the flooding money it seems this Labour Council are playing politics with people’s lives and the only way to get them to do anything is embarrass them in the press, which is definitely not my first choice of action.

“Getting the correct infrastructure in place is vital to improving connectivity throughout Dumfries and Galloway. CTIL want to provide us with a network but unbelievably, the Council are refusing to communicate with them.

“The council must act now and engage with CTIL, who have the full support of Vodafone and Telefonica, to get the necessary infrastructure in place as soon as possible.

“It is disgraceful that a company so keen to modernise our mobile network coverage are having to chase a council that at best seems uninterested in what they have to offer.”

Mr Arkless added:

“The Isle of Whithorn have recently benefited from improved 3G coverage as part of Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme and residents there now enjoy fast and reliable 3G coverage.

“With advancing technology, connectivity is now relatively easy to improve – we no longer have to accept that poor connectivity and rural life go hand in hand.”

A spokesperson for CTIL said:

“Expansion in to Dumfries and Galloway will ultimately lead to more people getting connected, whilst offering a modern network built for the future. We have been trying to get this moving for over a year now without any response.”

Mr Arkless stressed that the council must take immediate action and contact CTIL to arrange talks with them as soon as possible. He added that residents of the region ‘deserve a much more proactive approach’ from their local council with regards to improving connectivity.

Mr Arkless concluded:

“The telecoms companies are ready to supply us with fast 4G coverage, CTIL are ready to provide us with the network for them to do so, the only hurdle to improving our connectivity seems to be the Labour run local council who are refusing to sit round a table and make things happen for Dumfries and Galloway.”

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