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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Question ref. S6W-04865
Asked by: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 6 December 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what (a) planning it has undertaken and (b) action it has taken to ensure that people who experience power cuts are able to contact the emergency services in instances where they cannot make phone calls due to their mobile phone battery expiring or their landline being internet-based.

Current status: Answered by Kate Forbes on 22 December 2021


Answer

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of mobile and broadband connectivity for almost all aspects of everyday life which is why we work closely with Local Resilience Partnerships, telecoms providers and the UK Government - both in preparing for, and responding to severe weather events which may impact telecommunications in Scotland.

It is important to note that resilience of the Communications Sector, which includes telecommunications and internet, is reserved and therefore the responsibility of the UK Government.

Major outages are extremely rare, but most telecoms equipment is dependent on a power supply in order to function which can be disrupted by extreme weather.

During the Storm Arwen response effort, welfare centres offered Wi-Fi and mobile phone charging facilities where possible. Additionally, in the in the run-up to Storm Arwen, the Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland campaign was activated using local radio and digital channels and was geographically targeted on the areas affected by the Amber and Red Met Office warnings.

 

The ‘Ready Scotland’ website, at ready.scot , provides advice to the public on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies; including utilities loss and severe weather.

 

We will continue to press the UK Government and the regulator (Ofcom) for assurance that increasing resilience of the telecoms network in Scotland is a priority.