All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Business has urged Ofcom to take a proactive role in managing new mast deployment in rural areas
A group of 40 MPs has written to the UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, to ask that it maintains a firm hand with the country’s big four mobile network operators, over their recent commitments to boost mobile network coverage in rural areas.
Ofcom has recently outlined plans for all four MNOs to achieve 90 per cent geographic coverage on their 4G networks, a feat which will require the installation of around 500 new masts.
As these masts will be located in sparsely populated areas, it is unlikely that operators will see much of a financial return on their investment, and for this reason the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Business has called on Ofcom to keep a sharp eye on the operators’ deployment plans. As things stand, there is no plan to review the deployment of new masts until the end of the review process in 2024.
“While Ofcom’s initial announcement truly has the potential to revolutionise mobile coverage across the countryside, it will fall by the wayside if progress is not monitored on a regular basis. We need annual reporting to ensure that mobile operators are holding their promises to the public on delivering a 4G network which works for people wherever they live,” Chair of the APPG on Rural Business Julian Sturdy MP.
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