A university in Scotland is working on a project alongside EE. The project is designed to help improve the quality of mobile phone coverage in rural areas.
The new initiative will involve using a small computer to provide a mobile network signal in locations where coverage is poor, or doesn’t exist at all. The project is being developed in conjunction with the University of the Highlands and Islands and forms part of EE’s work with Facebook to share technologies in order to improve connectivity. The University of the Highlands and Islands consists of colleges and research facilities in the Highlands, Argyll, Northern Isles, Moray and Western Isles.
The Principle of the University said that they were excited to work with EE in order to explore the opportunities which the project can offer to the university and the different communities that it serves. He said that in particular, the technology could be useful to the university’s work in health innovation in rural areas. Lastly, he said that the university aims to have a ‘transformational’ impact on the Highlands and Islands, so would welcome any initiative which could potentially benefit the area.
The Highlands and Islands region struggles to make connections over a mobile or broadband network. Back in January, several businesses in Skye said that they had gone back to using the post rather than the internet because they were becoming increasingly frustrated by slow broadband speeds. On the North West side of the island, there had been a complete network loss, followed by a period of reduced speeds. Last year, a survey by the Highlands and Islands enterprise found that better phone coverage would be a factor in encouraging young people to stay on the island- the majority of the island’s population aged 15-30 thought that network connectivity was not good enough and would have chosen this to be improved rather than wifi.