BT to upgrade mobile signals in 500 rural areas

Ben Woods
·2 min read
Snowdonia - Alan Novelli
Snowdonia - Alan Novelli

More than 500 areas across the countryside will be upgraded to 4G coverage, handing relief to thousands of homes and businesses plagued by bad phone signal.

BT's mobile network EE is expanding coverage in the most remote areas to tackle the patchy signal tormenting rural communities.

It is part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), a commitment by operators to guarantee a signal to an extra 280,000 homes and businesses by increasing 4G coverage to 90pc of the UK's landmass within five years.

Only 67pc of the UK can get a signal from all four mobile operators, meaning millions of people and thousands of businesses struggle with a poor connection.

EE's upgrades will target 579 areas by the end of this year, including 333 in England, 132 in Scotland, 76 in Wales and 38 in Northern Ireland.

Coverage has already increased in 110 of those locations since the agreement was signed in March last year.

The move includes upgrades to all 15 national parks, such as Snowdonia, the Lake District and Exmoor.

It also means EE's 4G network will cover 94pc of British roads.

BT chief executive Philip Jansen said the telecoms giant was committed to improving coverage in the most remote areas.

"The investment BT has made in rural areas to date means we already have the infrastructure in place needed to extend our 4G coverage footprint further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build," he said

The first phase aims to "significantly reduce" so-called 'partial not spots', where one but not all networks can provide a 4G signal.

The second leg will be underpinned by £500m of Government funding to ensure areas with no 4G coverage can also get connected.

In January, Vodafone, O2 and Three announced they would begin building 222 new mobile masts as part of the SRN.

The initial roll-out is expected to increase the turnover of rural firms by £187.7m per year, according to a Development Economics report.

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