To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what mobile providers have access to the Emergency Service Network critical communications system in (a) Angus, (b) Scotland and (c) the United Kingdom.
2 July 2019
The Emergency Services Network is being provided primarily to deliver world class critical voice and data to the emergency services to replace the aging and expensive Airwave network.
To provide the necessary coverage for ESN, mobile network operator EE is building over 400 new sites across the UK and upgrading its entire existing network to 4G.
Across the whole of Scotland, EE is initially deploying 355 sites with additional sites to follow, although some locations have still to be confirmed. Of these, 284 having been activated to date. The new 4G coverage these sites deliver, in addition to the upgrading of existing masts, will be available to EE’s commercial customers in addition to the emergency services wherever possible. In Angus, EE has deployed and activated one new site.
In addition to the new sites being provided by EE, the ESN programme is responsible for providing approximately 300 sites in the most remote and rural areas of Great Britain as part of the Extended Area Service (EAS) project
Other Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) can share all new sites being built by EE through a clear and well-understood industry process, in line with our State Aid requirements. It is a matter for those mobile network operators if they wish to share this infrastructure.
For the EAS sites all MNOs can apply to site share if the necessary planning permissions regarding a mast capable of hosting multiple operators are granted by the local planning authority. 98% of structures planned are designed to accommodate additional MNOs.
Twelve of these EAS sites are planned in Angus and these are composed of nine greenfield sites and three sites shared with the existing Airwave service. Construction has completed on one site.
Across the whole of Scotland 123 EAS sites are planned, including 76 greenfield sites, 30 sites shared with the existing Airwave service, and 17 sites shared with other mobile network operators. Of these 18 shared sites, 11 are proposed as shared sites with the Scottish Government 4G infill programme.
Of the 76 greenfield sites across Scotland, 10 have now completed construction, and construction is underway on a further 14 sites. The remainder are at various different stages of the necessary planning and legal processes before construction can begin
Currently there is one EAS site active in Scotland which is located in Lockerbie.