News story

First homes benefit after government investment to improve mobile coverage nationwide

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

More than 200 premises in North Yorkshire village get mobile reception.

Homes and business in the rural North Yorkshire village of Weaverthorpe can now get a mobile signal thanks to the government’s £150 million investment in extending mobile coverage across the country. This marks the start of the programme’s roll out which will see hundreds of communities benefit across the UK.

The nationwide scheme to improve mobile coverage will deliver an estimated £340 million in economic benefits by extending coverage to remote and rural areas across the country that are currently ‘not-spots’ receiving no coverage from any network.

No mobile coverage is often a real frustration for people living in rural communities. There are real practical benefits to the Mobile Infrastructure Programme that will not only improve lives but even save them as communities previously without reception will now be able to contact emergency services from their mobiles.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said:

We are now delivering mobile coverage to small communities thanks to the government’s investment in our digital infrastructure.

For the first time, these small, rural communities will enjoy the benefits of mobile phones that the rest of us take for granted.

New infrastructure

The scheme sees government provide the capital funding for Arqiva to build the new infrastructure. The 4 mobile network operators (EE, Telefonica, Three and Vodafone) provide coverage from the sites and cover operating costs for the 20-year life of the project.

Arqiva will identify suitable sites then acquire the rights to the sites and obtain planning permission before beginning the physical roll-out of infrastructure.

John Cresswell, CEO of Arqiva, said:

This is an important first step for the programme and demonstrates how investment in mobile infrastructure supports the economy, reduces the technological divide and benefits the social fabric of our regions and villages.

Olaf Swantee, EE CEO, said:

The UK has one of the strongest and most competitive communications markets in the world, and this initiative will make that global position even stronger. This boost to connectivity will bring added social and economic benefits to Weaverthorpe and communities across the country, and we’re pleased to be supporting this unique and strategic partnership between government and the telecoms sector.

Kevin Salvadori, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone UK, said:

It’s very encouraging to see that the first MIP site is up and running, allowing people to get the most out of their mobile phones in Weaverthorpe. We know from our own Open Sure Signal projects just what a positive impact delivering a mobile signal for the first time can have on how rural communities live and work.

An O2 spokesperson said:

We welcome this first step to help rural communities connect. It sees the beginning of bringing increased benefits to the businesses and residents of other towns like Weaverthrope.

A Three spokesperson said:

Good mobile coverage brings real social and economic benefits to communities like Weaverthorpe. It is important that industry and Government work together to ensure more remote communities enjoy a good mobile experience.

Mobile phone image by gailjadehamilton on flickr. Some rights reserved.