Mobile Phones: Bishop Auckland

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 4th November 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what her timescale is for provision of total mobile network coverage in Bishop Auckland constituency; and which operator will provide the network in that constituency.

Photo of Matt Warman Matt Warman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

On 25 October 2019, the Government announced in-principle support for a Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme, which is a proposal from the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to collectively increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the United Kingdom to 95% by 2025, underpinned by a legally binding coverage commitment from each operator to have reached more than 92% by 2026. The Government’s in-principle support remains subject to detailed negotiations with the MNOs, but our ambition is to reach a formal agreement on the SRN in the coming months.

The exact site deployment plans and timescales will be managed by the MNOs themselves in order for them to best deliver the agreed coverage outcomes. So until the operators’ final radio planning exercise is complete, neither the Government nor the operators will know the precise location or number of new or upgraded masts. However, the operators will be consulting with local communities as they do so. The MNOs’ intention is to deliver this programme by the end of 2025.

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