The Countryside Alliance welcomes the Government’s announcement today that it is taking further action to tackle mobile phone “not-spots” around the country. However we are concerned that a focus on promoting national roaming will not tackle the root problem – the need to reform regulations surrounding mobile phone infrastructure.
Countryside Alliance head of policy Sarah Lee said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to improving rural connectivity and we support its ongoing dialogue with the industry. The proposal to encourage infrastructure sharing is a positive step towards better coverage in the countryside and will ensure that rural communities are connected more quickly.
“We are disappointed that the consultation will not cover reform of planning and the Electronic Communications Code or of the regulatory environment, a direction which we believe could prove a quicker and cheaper route to better coverage.
“We are also surprised that the Government has launched further consultations at this stage as constructive dialogue between the Government and operators had been taking place which we believe could have ensured better coverage that is also sustainable for the operators.
“National roaming needs to be part of a wider range of actions to improve mobile phone reception. Focussing on national roaming could fail to deliver coverage to some ‘not spots’ as there would be no incentive to build additional masts in areas of poor coverage.
“We need to see more from the Government on planning and regulatory reform so that there is an overarching and coherent strategy on digital communications.”
For more information, contact Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 0207 8409220 and 07500 834163 or email [email protected]