Northern Ireland to benefit from £1bn rural mobile coverage deal

  • A new 1bn Shared Rural Network plan is set to bring 4G coverage to Northern Ireland's rural areas by 2025.

    While mobile phone coverage in cities across the UK is very good, rural areas have always been plagued with poor phone signal and a lack of 4G coverage. Northern Ireland in particular has been badly affected, with a high number of people living in rural locations. Northern Ireland is now set to benefit from a massive £1bn UK-wide deal to supply coverage to rural areas.

    The Shared Rural Network will expand 4G coverage to over 95% of the UK by 2025, and will be run as a collaboration between all of the major mobile providers. The scheme is estimated to cost £1bn, of which the government will half, and EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone will collectively pay the other half.

    Around 280,000 buildings will be covered by the scheme, with Northern Ireland benefitting significantly. The deal was proposed some time ago and almost fell through recently due to disagreements over the cost of using BT/EE's existing equipment. There has also been some opposition to the deal on the grounds that it could reduce competition in the market.

    Speaking to BBC News about the deal, CCS Insight's Kester Mann said that it "should go a long way to addressing areas of weak coverage in many rural parts of the UK and overcome some of the tough planning and access restrictions that have hindered network rollout in the past."

    Source: BBC News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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