The United Kingdom’s most frequented national park – the Lake District, which receives a staggering 15 million annual visitors, has historically endured poor mobile service. However, this is due to change with recent upgrades made in the EE mobile masts.
Improvements, which took place over the summer, mark a realization of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative; a substantive investment of £1 billion aimed at broadening 4G connectivity across idyllic but remote communities. The explicit objective of this initiative is to achieve 95 percent geographical coverage across the UK by the close of 2025.
These upgrades will considerably optimize coverage in areas between Coniston Water and Windermere, including locales like the Hay Bridge Nature Reserve, Rusland, sections of Grizedale Forest, among others. Furthermore, mobile connectivity in the southeast of Windermere Lake will experience enhancement, affecting rural regions like Cartmel Fell, as well as Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve, extending down towards River Kent estuary and Milnthorpe.
The locations of these improved masts cater to both the need for upgraded mobile connectivity within rural precincts, as well as the respect for the natural landscape, thus serving the public without unnecessarily intruding on the environment.
This strategic move brings essential relief to countryside communities as the impending termination of 2G, and subsequently 3G networks, by the UK’s mobile providers approaches. It can’t be overstated, 4G offers the largest and most reliable networks, making it the beacon of connectivity for remote parts of the UK.
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, voiced his support, highlighting that these crucial upgrades will give our remote communities a much-needed lift, supporting inhabitants, local trades and the tourists with faster mobile internet access and high-quality, reliable communication. He also noted the importance of providing suitable infrastructure for the digital age in these remote, iconic regions of the British countryside.
The significant enhancement of mobile connectivity was also lauded by farming leaders in the region, demonstrating how crucial a good 4G mobile coverage has become to farming businesses and in safeguarding life in these areas.
Local farmer, and NFU Cumbria County chairman, Ian Bowness elaborated on the indispensability of the network for on-field activities and regulatory compliance, while promoting health and safety during solo work in colder regions.
The SRN programme seeks to expand coverage by utilizing mast-sharing on existing sites in rural areas where certain networks do have some coverage, and also developing new shared masts to connect areas without coverage.
BT Group’s Chief Networks Officer Greg McCall expressed optimism about the impact of the network enhancement in the Lake District, foreseeing that businesses in the area can leverage the network to offer new services and experiences to the millions of tourists.
Other notable figures in telecoms, such as Howard Watson from BT, are set to discuss the issue of connectivity at the upcoming Connected Britain event. The event is expected to shed light on the ongoing efforts to improve telecommunications infrastructure across the country.