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£5bn boost to mobile phone service

A £5bn investment in the UK's mobile phone coverage by the four network operators will mean a big boost to rural reception, says the Countryside Alliance.

The landmark deal, announced today (18 December), will guarantee call and text coverage on all networks across 90 per cent of the UK's geographical area by 2017, and coverage including internet access to 85 per cent by the same date.

In return the Government has agreed to reform the out-dated Electronic Communications Code and make it easier for new masts and other infrastructure to be built – something the Countryside Alliance has long campaigned for.

The Government will also allow many Government buildings to be used as sites for mobile infrastructure and will take operators' concerns into account when they review the fees mobile networks pay to Government.

Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, said: "This investment is very welcome. It will really help to ensure that rural businesses and households are not left behind in the digital revolution.

"However there is always room for more to be done so we expect the Government and the service providers to continue to work together to connect the final 10 per cent of the country, that has no or only partial reception."

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