Whilst major investment is being made in the fibre broadband network in Herefordshire, the need to improve the mobile phone network is key to the county’s success.
Feedback from residents shows there are large areas of the county that have no mobile phone coverage which is creating a disadvantage to some communities.
Cllr Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said, “Whilst the Government and Herefordshire Council are investing millions of pounds in the broadband network, the mobile phone network is essential to residents and businesses.”
He went on to explain that a good mobile network could help people in the very rural parts of the county to access broadband, “though it is incredibly important to reach the most rural parts of Herefordshire with the fibre broadband, it becomes incredibly expensive the further away someone is from the existing network. However, mobile coverage can create the opportunity for people to access reasonable speeds to access the internet.”
Herefordshire’s economy is supported by the many businesses based in the rural areas, including farms and small enterprises. These businesses also support local communities through employment and sustaining local services such as post offices.
Herefordshire is due to benefit from a Government led initiative called the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) where public funding is used to support the installation of additional masts to cover areas that have no or very little mobile coverage. Though sites have been identified in the county, no new masts have yet been installed.
Cllr Graham Powell concluded, “We completely welcome the MIP project in Herefordshire, and as we continue to see the roll-out of fibre broadband the improvement of mobile coverage is part of the jigsaw in enabling the county to compete economically and help our rural areas to thrive.”