Mobile phone service provider EE has been accused of ignoring evidence of a failed service to the Uig district of Lewis.
EE is part of the mega-giant BT Group - and professes to reach 98% of the UK population with its 3G Network and about 80% with 4G.
As users will be aware, the huge inflation in the size of files transferred by the internet – with individual photographs constantly taking more digital memory than that available to an entire office computer 25 years ago – means that anything less than 5-bar 4G is now very challenging to operate with.
SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has called on EE to urgently improve its level of service to its 4G broadband customers in Uig in Lewis.
Residents in Uig – who largely rely on the mobile network for broadband access – have faced slow and intermittent internet access for more than three weeks.
When they have contacted EE about the problem, individuals have apparently been told that there are no issues with EE’s service in the area.
A number of small local businesses and home workers in the area have contacted the MSP for the Western Isles to highlight their frustration with EE over internet speeds which are preventing streaming or downloading of content, and even making voice-calls over Wi-Fi impossible.
This is not the first time people in Uig have been affected by severe connectivity issues – last year, the area went without any signal at all for over two weeks while EE waited for a part to be delivered to repair the local mast, with a further delay when EE’s engineers struggled to get booked onto the ferry during peak season.
Commenting on the situation, Allan said: “Residents all over Uig are understandably concerned and frustrated by the complete lack of reliability in the 4G service EE are meant to be providing.
“I met recently with the BT Group’s Head of Nations & Regions to discuss the variety of connectivity challenges facing Western Isles residents, and I have been back in touch with him today about the ongoing problems in Uig. He has assured me this issue is being urgently investigated.
“I hope that the problem will be resolved as soon as possible by EE, as the inconvenience and stress caused to businesses, individuals and organisations in the area during periods of prolonged signal disruption is significant. Uig residents, as well as those living in all other areas of the Western Isles who rely on 4G for their broadband access, need a reliable service, and EE must ensure that it provides that soon.”