Taking Action to Improve Rural Connectivity in the U.K.
In December 2018, Ofcom published a comprehensive report aiming to get rural areas connected. On 27 April 2019 the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy publication called on the Government to develop a rural strategy to help realise the potential of rural economies. These are only a few examples showing that the UK is up in arms regarding insufficient rural connectivity in the British countryside. A plethora of public and private bodies, including various connectivity providers, industry associations and rural community organizations are all pledging to invest financial and operational resources, equipment and spectrum to overcome the situation.
Janine Forbes / Telecommunications Tower on Newmarket Hill / CC BY-SA 2.0
Just search your browser for “rural connectivity in the U.K.” and you will find numerous entries stuffed full of statistics quantifying the problem. For example, this article in the ISPreview from January 16th, 2019 entitled “Farmers Bemoan Poor UK Rural Mobile and Broadband Connectivity” offers the following figures from a National Farmer Union survey:
UK Rural Mobile
- (Only) 19% (of British farmers) have a reliable outdoor signal in all locations.
- 93% agree a reliable mobile signal is important for their business.
- (Only) 38% thought the signal they receive is sufficient for their business.
- 97% of farmers own a mobile phone.
- 83% own a Smartphone with access to 4G.
The article goes on to list the primary known challenges facing mobile operators aiming to expand their reach to remote locations. These include power supply, planning permission, rugged terrain, network capacity provision, etc. In December 2018, the U.K. Rural Development Programme (Regional) England made available a programme approved by the E.C. also citing the need for improved access to broadband for rural communities. Only a few months earlier, in March 2018 the Rural England CIC released a paper commissioned by Amazon with the title “Unlocking the digital potential of rural areas across the UK” surveying reasons for low uptake of digital services in rural areas and offering recommendations to rectify the situation.
A year earlier, the GSMA published “Unlocking Rural Coverage: Enablers For Commercially Sustainable Mobile Network Expansion” which was the output of a project co-funded by UK aid from the UK Government. The GSMA paper, in its review of constraints hindering rural connectivity, notes that network deployment to rural and remote locations is adversely impacted by a lack of basic infrastructure such as reliable power provision, road access or public buildings. Mobile operators must, as a result, build each site in a self-sufficient manner.
Now that rural connectivity is so high on the agenda, U.K. telecom suppliers are pushing ahead more rapidly to improve rural coverage and considering how to best ensure connectivity in these difficult to reach locations. GenCell Energy helps telecom tower operators and MNOs around the world with ultra-reliable, cost-efficient and zero-emission backup power, as well as primary power solutions for regions where the grid is problematic or not yet available. If we can be of assistance with your rural telecom needs, please contact us at email@example.com.
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