New ServicesGovernment admits mobile infrastructure project failure

Government admits mobile infrastructure project failure

The UK government has scrapped its £150m mobile infrastructure project, admitting failure in its attempts to progress the initiative designed to reduce ‘not spots’ in rural areas.

The UK government has scrapped its £150m mobile infrastructure project, admitting failure in its attempts to progress the initiative designed to reduce ‘not spots’ in rural areas.

Just 15 masts have been erected in three years, well short of the 600 mast target set for the project when it was first unveiled in 2011.

During a recent government debate, the UK’s digital economy minister Ed Vaizey admitted he is “guilty as charged” over the project’s failure.

“I do not think the programme has been a success, and I do not think that ministers often say that about their own programmes,” he told MPs. “We set aside £150m. We talked about 600 sites. Our heart was in the right place.”

 

Blame game

Vaizey claimed that part of the project’s slow progress was down to the country’s mobile players, as well as objections from local residents and planners.

The country’s four operators (EE, O2, Vodafone and 3 UK) had pledged support, stating they will fund each sites’ operating cost for up to 20 years. “We were dragging the four operators with us, metaphorically kicking and screaming,” Vaizey said.

It was also claimed in the debate that Wiltshire Council missed the deadline for planning approval for a mast because it was too busy arguing about what colour it should be.

By the end of 2015, the project spend had totalled a reported £9.1m although MPs were told that it may still be possible for the remaining funds to be repurposed for further projects.

Related Articles

Peterborough set to unlock economic potential with full fibre roll-out

5G & Mobile Peterborough set to unlock economic potential with full fibre roll-out

5m Austin Clark
Six 5G projects receive £25m funding

5G & Mobile Six 5G projects receive £25m funding

5m Austin Clark
Electoral fraud prevention campaign launched ahead of May elections

New Services Electoral fraud prevention campaign launched ahead of May elections

5m Austin Clark
New tech to help fight terrorist content online

New Product / Technology New tech to help fight terrorist content online

6m Austin Clark
Glasgow finalises £30m fibre WAN deal

Digital Procurement Glasgow finalises £30m fibre WAN deal

6m Austin Clark
Ofcom presses ahead with auction of 4G and 5G spectrum

5G & Mobile Ofcom presses ahead with auction of 4G and 5G spectrum

7m Austin Clark
Bracknell Forest Council appoints Invotra to transform Intranet

Digital Procurement Bracknell Forest Council appoints Invotra to transform Intranet

9m Austin Clark
Digital telecare: Looking beyond usual technology to deliver better citizen outcomes (case study)

Digital Customer Service Digital telecare: Looking beyond usual technology to deliver better citizen outcomes (case study)

10m Austin Clark