UK's mobile and broadband need full overhaul

Joanna Estrada
December 18, 2017

Lord Adonis said as a result, whole areas could be suffering far poorer mobile services than had been previously thought.

Urgent action is required to tackle Britain's "deplorable" mobile phone coverage, the chairman of the infrastructure commission has demanded.

Lord Adonis has written to the telcoms regulator Ofcom, who carried out the study, urging it to take action on the issue, which also found that 1m United Kingdom homes have poor broadband access, and large parts of the United Kingdom still have no 4G coverage. That's a seven percent rise from a year ago, though Adonis sees it differently: "Large parts of the country remain without reliable coverage, with nearly a third of the UK's geography unable to receive a signal from all four operators".

Adonis launched a public consultation in October on the quality of United Kingdom infrastructure with a particular focus on mobile sertives as needing attention. Last year, his report on 4G mobile coverage found it was worse in the United Kingdom than in Albania, Panama, Peru and Romania.

He is pressing for "concerted action" between the regulator and the government, saying all options should be put on the table to improve mobile phone coverage between now and the next mobile spectrum being auctioned.

He pointed to a recent Ofcom study which found the level of coverage offered by the four mobile networks - EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three - is worse than previously believed.

Ofcom said it agreed change was needed.

Matt Hancock, minister for digital, said there was a "clear need" for rapid improvements to mobile coverage.

"We're playing our part by enforcing rules for better coverage, and preparing to set new rules in operators' licences", said the regulator's chief technology officer, Steve Unger. We're also boosting the capacity of mobile networks by releasing new airwaves, and helping to improve coverage on trains.

"We've recently removed outdated restrictions, giving mobile operators more freedom to improve their networks including hard-to-reach rural areas", he said.

Lord Adonis wants every avenue of action to be considered to boost coverage including legal and regulatory changes to ensure that mobile network providers give customers the quality of service they're paying for.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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