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.
Progress: 2 new masts became operational, and four more were constructed. Overall, the area of ‘not spots’ reduced from 45% to 23% of the National Park. There was no change in the level of 4G (or better) coverage in the four service ‘hubs’ (Grassington, Sedbergh, Hawes and Reeth) and their surrounding villages.
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.