Provide basic mobile phone coverage across the National Park to reduce ‘not-spots’, and ensure 4G (or better) services are available on all networks in the 4 service ‘hubs’ and their surrounding ‘spoke’ settlements by 2021.
How the local partners are doing on this objective
4G services are available on at least 3 networks in each of the 4 main village ‘hubs’, and in 11 of the 20 ‘spoke’ settlements. The area of the Park with no mobile service remained at 22%. Whilst there was little change in coverage in 2022-23, a significant amount of investment is going in, which will yield improvements in future years. 10 masts have been installed as part of the Emergency Services Network, and 2 more granted permissions. These will be available to use by commercial operators to provide 4G coverage by the end of 2024. As part of the Shared Rural Network – a joint venture between government and the mobile operators – 10 new masts are planned for installation in 2023-24, of which 5 have already secured planning permission.
Press releases & related articles:
1 July 2022 – Nine new mobile phones masts to bring 4G to Dales
9 February 2021 – Affordable homes and 5G mast approved
Rationale: Residents and visitors expect reliable, fast mobile communications and data services. The regulator may require lobbying in order to push providers to roll out services (and choice) into ‘not-spots’. North Yorkshire County Council is assessing the extent of current provision and discussing with commercial operators how to achieve improvements in areas with challenging topography and poor coverage.
Cost over 5 years: £2,000,000
Funding shortfall: n/a
Ecosystem services: None
Trade-offs: To overcome ‘not-spots’ new or much bigger masts will be required. Impacts on landscape character (A3) will be identified and moderated through the application of the policies set out in the Yorkshire Dales Local Plan. Existing masts for emergency services use, have the flexibility to be shared by commercial operators to provide general network coverage. Improvements to broadband coverage (E1) can also overcome issues with poor mobile network coverage through less visually intrusive infrastructure.
Baseline: 45% of the National Park was covered by ‘not-spots’ in March 2018.