by Countryside Alliance

The Countryside Alliance welcomes the news that the Government is championing a £1 billion deal with the phone industry, in a much-needed bid to banish rural not-spots. The CA has been a long time, vocal advocate for better coverage in rural areas.

The move would cement plans to give high-quality 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025.

More people living and working in rural areas will benefit from the speed and efficeincy of services on the go - from booking shopping, travel or speaking to clients, friends or family online.

The deal would be a world first with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone investing in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share.

Speaking about the deal, Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operartors so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve.

She went on to say, "Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider, they're with."

"But it is not yet a done deal and I want to see industry move quickly so we can reach a final agreement early next year."

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance said: "For far too long the countryside has been left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. Today's announcement for a single rural network could be the final piece in the jigsaw. It would provide much needed coverage, boosting our rural economy, and connecting communities.

She added "For this to give our rural communities and businesses the improvement they so desperately need it must be delivered swiftly, with a clear timetable, and with the Government holding operators to account if they fail to meet the coverage obligations."

Further information about this plan and the full UK Gov press release can be found here.

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