Wednesday, 14 September 2016 10:32

MPs 'must support rural mobile coverage'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
MPs 'must support rural mobile coverage'

MOBILE phone operators should be legally obliged to deliver universal coverage across the whole of Britain, say rural business leaders.

The call comes after MPs debated the Digital Economy Bill, which sets out provisions for a new legal right to superfast broadband for all home and business premises by 2020.

The Bill does not include a similar commitment to universal coverage for mobile across the whole of the UK, says the Country Land and Business Association.

But it does contain major legal concessions to mobile companies which will result in a £1 billion saving for the industry.

    See also: Action 'vital' on mobile phone coverage

CLA eastern region Director Ben Underwood suggested that the Bill failed to adequately reflect the needs of rural businesses and communities.

"Mobile devices are a vital part of modern life, and can transform the opportunities for people who live and work across our countryside," he said.

"That potential continues to be stifled because of poor and inconsistent coverage. The promise of this Bill is to improve coverage now and in the future, but it is flawed."

The proposed law was extremely weak in terms of what it obliged the mobile industry to deliver, said Mr Underwood.

The CLA was calling on MPs to ensure that any benefits to mobile operators from the law were fully transferred to consumers, he added, especially those in rural areas.

"A universal coverage target for mobile, complementary to the commitment for universal superfast broadband already contained in this Bill, is the best way to achieve this.

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