The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has been victorious in its #4GForAll campaign, as the Government and the UK’s four main mobile phone coverage providers have set out a £1 billion plan to bring an end to poor network coverage in rural areas.
The #4GForAll campaign called for mobile operators to share mobile phone masts and a Single Rural Network, and to have to adhere to legally binding coverage and timetable obligations.
Commenting on the announcement by the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport that there will be high-quality 4G mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025, the CLA said that the coverage will be welcomed by everyone who lives or works in the countryside.
A spokesman for the Association said that it had been hugely frustrated by the lack of progress in improving mobile reception to date, but the legal coverage obligations now put on operators to improve the situation, through the delivery of a Single Rural Network, will ensure demonstrable improvements over the next few years for rural communities.
He added that the countryside has such huge potential for job creation and new economic growth but, for this to happen, every community in the country must be fully connected.
The announcement was also hailed by Digital Minister Nicky Morgan, who said that brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean that people will be able to get a good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they are with.
However, she warned that this is not yet a ‘done deal’ and the industry must move quickly so that a final agreement can be reached early next year.
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