THE GOVERNMENT HAS announced that 95 per cent of the country will have 4G coverage by the year 2025, thanks to a £1bn cash injection. The money, a joint initiative between the government and the big four mobile networks, should cover an extra 280,000 homes and businesses, the government claims.
If you live in such a place, you may be rolling your eyes at this point, given a pledge to hit 95 per cent of the country by 2022 was also part of the 2017 Conservative party manifesto. But then again, that PDF may still be loading for you, so perhaps you're none the wiser.
The plan is for O2, EE, Three and Vodafone to chip in £530m between them, with the government putting up an extra £500m on top of that. Operators will then share phone masts in rural areas and is a first for the world.
As a sweetener, CEOs of all four got to provide a boilerplate statement welcoming the move, which must be worth the cost of entry alone. Read them in all their glory here, should you be bored enough to click.
Actually, we will transcribe one, because EE owners BT couldn't resist getting in a well-earned dig at its rivals over network coverage. Overall coverage for the country is stuck on 66 per cent overall according to Ofcom, but EE manages 84 per cent on its own, according to its website.
"While EE already has the UK's largest 4G network, we're always looking at new ways to efficiently deliver more 4G to areas that are hardest to reach," said Marc Allera.
The government also got to make consumer-friendly statements. "We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity," said digital secretary Nicky Morgan, accidentally implying that inequality elsewhere is just fine and dandy. "We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve."
Hopefully this will actually go ahead, but given prime minister Boris Johnson will be seeking an early election on Monday, you can't help wondering whether a press release promising 4G for rural areas by 2030 is something we'll be dealing with in five years' time. µ
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