Confirmation that an agreement has been reached between the UK Government and all four mobile network operators on a shared rural network that will improve mobile phone reception in Powys has been welcomed by local AM, Russell George.
Mr George, who represents Montgomeryshire in the Senedd, has welcomed the £1 billion announcement which will see 4G mobile coverage extended to 95% of the UK’s landmass including many rural communities within North Powys which have thus far been without adequate mobile phone reception.
The Shared Rural Network proposal will be delivered by focusing on eliminating virtually all partial not-spots where there is coverage from one or more operators. This will be made possible by all four mobile network operators sharing each other’s infrastructure.
Mr George said:
"I welcome the UK Conservative Government's announcement that it has reached agreement with all four mobile network operators to deliver a Shared Rural Network which will demonstrably improve coverage for residents and visitors in Powys.
“This positive £1 billion announcement will see 4G mobile coverage extended to 95% of the UK’s landmass including many rural communities within North Powys which have thus far been without adequate mobile phone reception and will be made possible by all four mobile network operators sharing each other’s infrastructure.
"In contrast to the UK Government's record of action in reaching agreement with the network operators on a scheme which has the potential to transform mobile connectivity for residents in Montgomeryshire, we have seen a record of inaction from the Welsh Government's so-called Mobile Action Plan which seems to have stalled.
"To facilitate this Shared Rural Network, we will need to see flexibility from the Welsh Government when it comes to planning policy and Permitted Development Rights which will help prepare for 4G and 5G deployment and speed up the process for new mobile phone masts as long as they are in appropriate locations.
"The Welsh Government has a role in creating the right regulatory, political and commercial conditions necessary for mobile operators to invest in digital connectivity so I will continue to press the Welsh Government to use the devolved policy levers at their disposal to support the rollout of the Shared Rural Network and end the frustration of residents and businesses in North Powys who are unable to use 21st century technology on which we all rely."