UK MOBILE OPERATORS have signed an agreement to boost mobile coverage across the country's national parks, while promising no adverse environmental impact.
The Mobile Operators Association (MOA), which represents EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, announced that it had struck a deal with National Parks England allowing it to boost mobile coverage in these areas where many mobile phone users are suffering from lack of connectivity.
The aim of the agreement is to help communities living in national parks to benefit from consistent high quality mobile connectivity while minimising any adverse environmental impacts.
The signal boost will cover the 10 national parks of England: The Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, South Downs and the Yorkshire Dale.
Jim Bailey, chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority, said, "National parks have always been about finding pragmatic long term solutions to the many competing demands on land. Ensuring modern telecommunications infrastructure is no different.
"Today's agreement will be good for the thousands of businesses and people living in our national parks, for the millions who visit them, and for the stunning landscapes and towns that are the lifeblood for our rural economies."
The government has welcomed the move, claiming that national parks are "living, working places" worth more than £4bn to the national economy.
Communications minister Ed Vaizey said, "Our national parks are areas of incredible beauty but they are also places where people live and work. They need access to the modern communications that many of us have taken for granted for years.
"The new agreement could make a real difference to those who live, work or visit our glorious national parks."
The announcement came a day after the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) criticised the UK government for providing UK firms with broadband that "is not fit for purpose". µ