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Nicky Morgan makes statement on Shared Rural Network

28 October 2019

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The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan MP, has made a statement on the Shared Rural Network, which aims to increase mobile phone reception across the UK.

Last week, the Government announced that it hoped to create the Shared Rural Network.

The proposal aims to tackle the problem of low-coverage in rural areas. It would involve a network of new and existing mobile phone masts that would allow UK providers to share coverage.

"Money is being targeted towards the hardest to reach areas of the UK"

Nicky Morgan MP told the House that the Shared Rural Network would ensure high-speed coverage for individuals and businesses, particularly those in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and help to address 'not spots' common in rural areas. 

Laying out the scheme, she said that these proposals were subject to legal agreement.

The Minister said:

"Last month this Government announced five billion pounds to accelerate the roll-out of the highest speed internet across the country, including in our rural heartlands.

This money is being targeted towards the hardest to reach areas of the UK so that they won't have to wait for their homes and businesses to be connected to fast, reliable broadband."

"Too little, too late for a country that deserves far better"

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Shadow Minister Liam Byrne MP said that whilst he welcomed the enthusiasm for progress, the proposals did not go far enough. He criticised the ongoing delays to the scheme and stated that an increase of four per cent in coverage was not comprehensive enough.

The Shadow Minister also highlighted that the scheme was not legally binding.

The Shadow Minister told MPs:

"We rank today not as the first, second or third best network in the world, we rank twenty-sixth. Eighty per cent of our constituencies don't enjoy 4G coverage from all big four operators.

I know that the Secretary of State has done her very best today to dress this up, but we should call it what it is worth: too little, too late for a country that deserves far better."

Image: Unsplash

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