All things mobile

Building in the most challenging conditions

Saturday, 03 December 2022

The Scottish Government’s Scottish 4G Infill Programme (S4GI) is a £28.75 million initiative delivering 4G infrastructure and services in up to 55 mobile “notspots” in rural and remote parts of Scotland. S4GI is being delivered in partnership with WHP Telecoms and the Scottish Futures Trust, and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support activity in the Highlands and Islands.

Connecting the most remote parts of Scotland can be challenging and the 30-metre mast built at Elgol, Highland proved more challenging than most. The area was very remote, had reduced space and was also protected due to its scientific interest. Additionally, there was the condition that there had to be minimal impact on the peatland environment.      

WHP Telecoms achieved a successful build by using the following approach:  

  • Specialist labour using low-ground-pressure excavators and wide-track all-terrain vehicle personnel carriers.
  • A helicopter was used to take materials to site. All materials (including concrete and the mast sections) were flown to site in a single day, which in itself was a logistical achievement.
  • Prior to heli-lifting the tower, WHP had to arrange the reduction of the tower sections with the manufacturer down to a transportable (by helicopter) size.
  • They used the the helicopter’s return trips (dropping the tower sections) to transport the plant and materials back to the holding area to minimise the impact on the peatland.

The outcome? All in all a very successful build. The 30-metre tower was erected in one day resulting in minimum environmental impact and costs reduction. This case is now used as a model for best practice on this type of site as it demonstrates innovative efficiencies in accelerated delivery and reduced costs by working closely with suppliers, contractors, and partners.

Find out more about the S4GI programme here: Scottish 4G infill programme: progress update - (