Better connectivity to our emergency services

Arran's emergency services are provided by a mix of statutory and voluntary services.  We want to work with mobile providers to improve access to mobile connectivity to enable effective callout and resilience-related messages.

This includes increasing awareness of which mobile signals can be accessed via WiFi and home femtocell options.

We think it’s time for our mobile connectivity providers to do more to ensure the resilience of emergency provision in rural areas, including Arran.

For example: in our survey, over half (56%, n=137) of respondents were with Vodafone, and yet only a fifth of those used a Vodafone ‘femtocell’ Suresignal.  The SureSignal box can be installed in areas of poor coverage to provide a local 3G signal using a broadband connection.  Vodafone will, apparently, issue a SureSignal free of charge to emergency service workers.  The usual cost is £100.  However, this offer is not extended to voluntary emergency services; yet volunteers make up over 50% of Arran’s emergency provision: including three of our fire stations, all First Responder groups, BASICS GP responders, mountain rescue and lifeboat.

This is a common situation in rural areas, and we don’t understand why there is this discrimination.