The areas in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that will benefit from the UK government’s £150m investment in mobile phone coverage have been announced by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. A map has also been made available that shows the local authority areas that stand to benefit from MIP investment.
The Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) will extend mobile phone coverage to these areas where no coverage is currently available, providing a sustainable technological solution for people living and working there. Cornwall, Northumberland, Strabane, Aberdeenshire and Powys are among the areas that stand to benefit most from the project, with the first sites due to “go live” by the end of this year.
Extending mobile phone coverage will provide hundreds of millions of pounds of economic benefits as well as resulting in positive social impacts, such as increased safety and security in terms of emergency response.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This project will see mobile phone coverage extended to many of the people who currently live and work in areas where there is none. The project will provide a significant boost to local economies across the UK, and will be instrumental in helping Britain win the global race.”
In a unique partnership approach, the government is providing the capital funding for Arqiva to build the new site infrastructure, while the four Mobile Network Operators (EE, Telefonica, Three and Vodafone) will be providing coverage from the sites and funding their operating costs for the twenty-year life of the project.
Arqiva has begun identifying suitable sites in a phased manner. Once suitable sites are identified, Arqiva will work to acquire rights to the sites and obtain planning permission before beginning the physical roll-out of infrastructure.
John Cresswell, CEO of Arqiva, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Government and Mobile Network Operators to improve mobile phone coverage in the areas announced today. Investing in mobile infrastructure will support the economy, reduce the technological divide and benefit the social fabric of our regions and villages. We are proud to be part of this initiative and committed to its success.”