Countryside Gets Short Straw in Mobile Reception Lottery
by：PinJing Electronics 2020-07-19
It seems hardly surprising that the government is earmarking precious funds to improve mobile networks in sparsely populated rural areas. The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has just published its first ' Infrastructure Report ' which it is compelled to prepare for the government every 3 years and it makes grim reading for mobile phone users out in the ' sticks '. It would appear that as many as 25 percent of this particular consumer group are prevented from using the network of their choice because there simply isn't the necessary signal strength in their area. There is, of course, a logical economic explanation for this. While every mobile network is obligated to cover 80% of the UK under the terms of their licences, they have naturally concentrated on the 80 % which is most densely populated and, de facto, contains the vast majority of their subscribers. The capital cost of laying on infrastructure to the remaining 20% cannot be justified by the level of monthly subscriptions from thinly scattered customers in those country areas. This is of course a serious concern to both the regulator and the government because people cannot be expected to pay for something that cannot be delivered. Of equal importance is the detrimental effect, in today's digital age, on the thousands of small businesses on which these outlying areas depend. It is the desirability of ensuring a level playing field for every part of the country and maximising the economic efficiency of the whole nation that recently prompted the government to allocate an extra 150 million towards improving network infrastructure in the worst affected areas. Even a sum of this size is unlikely to be expended on miles of new fibre cable. It is much more cost effective for service providers to turn to specialists in microwave solutions. What may not seem immediately obvious however is the benefit this development could bring to mobile broadband services. If Ofcom were to join forces with BDUK, or at least involve the department responsible for delivering fibre optic broadband throughout the country, then some work could go towards making sure that the new masts are 4G enabled, which will obviously mean the possibility of excellent mobile broadband coverage in the near future. It's clear that both mobile broadband and super fast broadband services in Britain are likely to step forward significantly in the next year or two. it would be fantastic news if both moved forward together.