Industry will pick up the rest of bill… yep, this old chestnut again

The UK government is set to release £500m of funding for the Shared Rural Network to improve mobile access in far-flung areas by adding new infrastructure and convincing operators to share their antennas with rivals.

Formally announced in March 2020, the deal also includes the UK’s four mobile providers – EE, Three, O2, and Vodafone – investing in a network of new and existing masts that is administered by a new jointly owned company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited. The providers are expected to chip in around £530m of their own money to facilitate this.

The aim of the project is to reduce the number of cellular “dead spots”, extending 4G LTE coverage to 95 per cent of the nation by the end of 2025, with Northern Ireland and Scotland expected to benefit the most. Work commenced in mid-2020, with Devauden in Wales the first rural settlement to receive a mobile upgrade. This was followed by Longnor, a Peak District village on the outskirts of leafy spa town Buxton.

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