Local MP welcomes boost for local mobile coverage

A £1m contract has been awarded to build masts to improve North Yorkshire’s mobile phone coverage.

After a competitive tender, the County Council has awarded the contract to Arqiva, a leading UK communications infrastructure company. Arqiva will now liaise with its mobile network operator customers to finalise the best locations for masts. The masts are expected to be operational by March 2020.

Firms were invited to bid to erect masts after a survey commissioned by the County Council identified several locations in North Yorkshire that currently have no 4G coverage. Funding for the work comes from the Government’s Local Growth Fund grant secured by the County Council from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP). The successful firm will have access to grant funds as and when a suitable mast site is identified and a mobile network operator agrees to provide mobile services from that site.

Local Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill said,

“This is great news, particularly for remote rural businesses and residents.  Having a good mobile signal can literally be a life saver for those who work alone in agriculture or forestry.  If they are injured in the course of their work, without a good mobile signal, they would not be able to summon help and in some cases possible die of blood loss or hypothermia.”

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “This contract represents a significant step forward in our efforts to expand more widely high-quality mobile phone coverage for residents and businesses. We already have a good relationship with mobile network operators and have been commended nationally on our forward-thinking approach.

“Strong mobile coverage is an important element of our support for maintaining and creating successful, thriving communities in all parts of North Yorkshire.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, said:

“This government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the Northern Powerhouse and building an economy which is fit for the future.”

Strong mobile phone coverage is vital to economic growth and ensuring that communities are connected. I’m delighted that £1m of Local Growth Funding is being invested in this project, which will ensure businesses in rural areas of North Yorkshire have the access to 4G coverage they need to thrive and grow.

David Crawford, Managing Director, Telecoms & M2M at Arqiva, said: “As the UK’s largest independent infrastructure provider we work with many organisations, including local authorities and mobile network operators, to provide connectivity services to businesses and residents across the UK. The benefits of having independent infrastructure is that multiple customers providing many different services can make use of the masts and towers that are built.

“We look forward to working with North Yorkshire County Council and the mobile network operators to build these additional sites to improve coverage under this grant agreement.”

David Dickson, Chair of the YNYER LEP Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board, added: “Like our colleagues at the council, the LEP is committed to improving connectivity across our rural powerhouse. We were delighted to support this innovative project that really starts to tackle connecting our most rural locations.”