A government project to bring mobile coverage to the remotest areas of the UK will not be able to fill in all the gaps that exist, despite investment of £150m.
The Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) was first announced back in November 2011 in order to help the six million people in the UK who live in regions with non-existent mobile coverage. This was based on analysis carried about by network firm Arqiva, which identified around 1,000 sites that are considered coverage ‘not-spots’.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said the project would try to benefit as many as possible, but acknowledged on Tuesday that it would, “not be able to reach every area currently without mobile coverage."
The locations that will be covered by the plans include Cornwall, Northumberland, and Yorkshire, and large swathes of Wales, Scotland and Ireland will also be factored into the rollout. The map below shows the rollout locations and schedules for the project.
The first of the sites could be live by the end of the year, and the government’s communications minister, Ed Vaizey, said the rollout would bring economic and social benefits to new areas of the UK.
“This project will see mobile phone coverage extended to many of the people who currently live and work in areas where there is none,” he said. “The project will provide a significant boost to local economies across the UK, and will be instrumental in helping Britain win the global race.”
Arqiva is leading the project, with support from the UK’s operators, EE, Three, Vodafone and O2. So far Arqiva has drawn up a phased rollout map for the MIP, and is now identifying the best sites to install kit as and where necessary.
The announcement comes amid ongoing debates around fixed broadband coverage in rural areas too, with BT agreeing to allow local councils to reveal their rollout locations. This will help other, smaller, network firms to offer services in areas where the BT network does not reach.
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