To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which commercial operators have (a) agreed and (b) shown an interest in utilising the infrastructure associated with the Extended Service Area Masts at locations (i) EAS0021, (ii) EAS0028, (iii) EAS0701 and (iv) EAS1013.
As part of the Shared Rural Network £184m of the £500m in government funding for the programme will be made available to the Home Office and the mobile network operators to upgrade Extended Area Service (EAS) masts being built as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN) for commercial use by the four mobile network operators. This will help eliminate ‘total not-spots’ - the hard to reach areas where there is currently no 4G coverage at all from any operator
All four mobile network operators have shown an interest in deploying on EAS sites. BT/EE will deploy on all feasible sites as part of the ESN project. The other operators will be able to commit to individual sites after design and acquisition work being performed for SRN by the Home Office has been completed
We can confirm that the design and acquisition of upgrades to enable SRN deployment on EAS0021, EAS0701 and EAS1013 have now started and should be handed over to the operators in 2023 at the latest, should the sites pass our reviews successfully. However, a site can be withdrawn from consideration at any point due to a number of factors such as value for money, planning issues and the level of coverage provided. Once a site is passed over to the operators they then have 12 months to activate it commercially.