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Rural Mobile Coverage

Volume 680: debated on Thursday 24 September 2020

The Government have agreed a £1 billion deal with mobile network operators to deliver the shared rural network, and this landmark deal will see operators collectively increase mobile phone coverage throughout the UK to 95% by the end of 2025, with legally binding coverage commitments. The exact site deployments will be managed by the operators, but I am pleased to say that the shared masts have already gone live in Wales, the Peak district and elsewhere.

I very much welcome the introduction and now the roll-out of the shared rural network, but the end of 2025 is still a long way off for many of my constituents, who have atrocious mobile coverage compared with better served urban users, yet pay the same price. Can my hon. Friend give me some reassurance that the roll-out will be done as quickly as possible, particularly in the hardest hit areas, such as Eddisbury, so that they can get the reliable, equitable 4G network they need?

My hon. Friend is right that far too much of the country does not yet have the mobile coverage it needs and deserves, and that is why the shared rural network exists. As I said in my answer, it is already being rolled out, and its positive effects will be felt well before 2025. I look forward, with my hon. Friend and others, to engaging with the mobile networks to make sure that those plans come forward as quickly as possible.