MPs call for rural roaming to tackle mobile blackspots


A cross-party group of 75 MPs have written to the Secretary of State, for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP, to ask the Government to make a requirement that network operators enable roaming between providers to improve mobile coverage in rural areas.

Ben Lake MP, one of the signatories, said:

“A lack of co-ordination between the network providers has left many rural areas covered by some but not all the networks. This is hampering economic, educational and leisure opportunities for residents in rural areas and remains a significant brake on growth for the local, regional and national economy. The introduction of roaming services between networks will vastly increase the operational coverage for many of our constituents”.

In some parts of the UK, mainly in rural areas, patchy, intermittent coverage means that many people have limited or no access to mobile coverage. Ben Lake MP and the co-signatories of the letter supported the UK Government’s Strategic Priorities for Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, which calls on the authority to fully consider the costs and benefits of roaming in rural areas. Whilst Ofcom has agreed that ‘co-operations of operators’ would improve mobile coverage, the MPs are urging the Secretary of State to take it one step further and make it a requirement of network providers to deliver it.

The UK Government has pledged to ensure that there is mobile coverage to 95% of the UK by 2022 but this will still leave many areas without a workable signal.

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