The CLA welcomes news that UK Government is today set to sign an agreement with phone operators to share the costs of phone masts as part of a £1bn bill that will end poor rural mobile phone coverage within the next five years.
CLA President Mark Bridgeman said:
“This is great news for millions of people living in the countryside, and will provide a much-needed boost to rural productivity – which currently is 16% below the national average. This announcement could mark the beginning of an exciting journey for the rural economy, which is why UK Government should work closely with operators to make sure they deliver on their promises.”
A fully connect countryside is a key feature of the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign, designed to boost productivity in the rural economy.
Mr Bridgeman added:
“For the Shared Rural Network to work, the operators have to meet their legal obligations within the agreement as well as ensuring transparency and far more effective communication with rural businesses and rural communities. If these obligations are not met, then UK Government must make good its promise and introduce rural roaming.
Although the use of 4G has already added £75 billion to the UK economy, only 67% of rural areas have access to good 4G.”