Mobile coverage for voice and data (2G and 4G services) is below the England average in all areas of the county except the main cities* causing widespread concern amongst businesses and communities across the region.
The programme aims to improve network coverage so that people can make reliable mobile phone calls and use 4G across the whole geography of the county, including A and B roads, and rail services by 2022.
*Ofcom Connected Nations Report
A recent MobileUK report has cited Connecting Cambridgeshire as a case study for how local authorities can help to improve mobile coverage by adopting a proactive approach.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority – Setting a clear direction
The Connecting Cambridgeshire digital programme – which has had notable success in rolling out superfast broadband – is being extended to generate further improvements to mobile, broadband and public wi-fi coverage. It is a proactive approach, which not only seeks to understand the barriers that prevent mobile connectivity from being improved, but also aims to break those barriers down.
The programme has political support from the mayor and a fully-funded and dedicated delivery team. The team is called the Enabling Digital Delivery (EDD), and it will support plans for full fibre networks, 5G mobile and improvements to mobile coverage. The intention is to improve network coverage across the whole geography of the county – including A and B roads, and rail services by 2022.
The EDD has several other responsibilities that will support it in its aims to improve mobile connectivity. These are: developing relationships with mobile network operator working across multiple public sector bodies and boundaries; and, being the point of contact to coordinate wayleaves, street works licences and planning, and making public sector assets available.