RuralRoad-1Just 35% of the UK’s A and B roads are served by all four 3G networks and 9% have no 3G coverage at all, according to the Ofcom’s annual infrastructure report, published today (24 October). Sarah Lee, Countryside Alliance head of policy, said: “This shocking statistic is further evidence that rural areas have been left behind in the roll-out of mobile technology. 

“Good connectivity is important for rural communities and those who rely on the road network to conduct their business, particularly if they are to compete economically with urban areas.

“These figures further demonstrate the need for closer monitoring by Government to identify the true coverage of the mobile network.
“We welcome Ofcom’s commitment to examine mobile coverage on major rail routes, but believe this should also be expanded to the road network as well, which will support Ofcom’s commitment to carry out further analysis in the coming year to examine whether regulatory or Government intervention may also be required to achieve wider mobile coverage on roads.”

The report also looks at superfast broadband delivery and claims that 73% of UK residence can now receive the service.
Miss Lee added: “Twenty per cent of the population live in rural areas and these are likely to be the very same people who still cannot get fast broadband.

“Fast reliable broadband connections are vital for rural businesses and communities. The proof of the success of the BDUK project is how they manage to roll out broadband to those in non-urban areas.”

Notes for editors:

• In June the Countryside Alliance launched a crowd-sourcing project to map the true mobile phone reception in the countryside. We asked smart phone owners to download the free RootMetrics app and send back samples of the mobile phone signal where they are.
• Since then the number of samples to the database has increased by 66% and 95,000 new reports are made each day.
• The campaign is on-going and the results, so far, can be seen here www.rootmetrics.com/uk/