Emergency Services: Telecommunications

Home Office written question – answered on 20th April 2017.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service)

In delivering the Emergency Services Network (ESN), the mobile network operator EE will deliver up to 291 new mast sites. Government will deliver approximately 230 further sites (known as the “Extended Area Services” (EAS) sites) in the most remote and rural areas of Great Britain.

EE has indicated that they aim to provide commercial services from all the new sites that they are building for ESN and the EAS sites although this may be dependent on the backhaul technologies used at sites to connect the site to EE’s telecommunications system.

Under the terms of the State Aid decision for ESN, any ESN site where EE offers a commercial service must be made available to the other UK mobile operators and interested parties to provide their own a service on an equal and non-discriminatory basis.

For EAS sites, the principal objective is to provide coverage to meet the needs of the emergency services, but the Home Office is working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and DCMS to identify any proposed mast locations which could improve mobile coverage in future, with a view to ensuring these are built to a specification which could accommodate multiple operators.

EE has indicated that for the sites they are building for ESN, they will provide detailed information to the mobile network operators on the locations once sites for new masts are legally acquired and planning permission has been granted.

For EAS sites, proposed locations have been shared with the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Planning applications due to be submitted during 2017 will confirm and make public the precise locations of these sites.

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