U.K. Appoints Builder Of Rural Mobile Booster Network - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

01:15 PM

U.K. Appoints Builder Of Rural Mobile Booster Network

Government's plan to boost cell and mobile broadband coverage in "not spots" finally in motion after two-year delay.

Best And Worst Cellphones Of All Time
10 Best And Worst Cellphones Of All Time
(click image for slideshow)
The British dream of eradicating "not spots" -- intermittent cell and mobile broadband coverage in rural areas -- has edged a bit closer to reality with a £150 million ($230 million) deal between the government and telco equipment supplier Arqiva.

In January 2012, the government unveiled its mobile infrastructure project (MIP), a program to plug gaps in mobile service in areas where operators haven't seen a business reason for installing infrastructure. The government had found funding for the project in October 2011.

The government Monday said it now has tapped Arqiva to deliver the program, which will cover at least 60,000 outlying sites and sections of road. Arqiva will be responsible for a full-scale mobile network rollout that encompasses network planning and site acquisition, as well as the deployment of site infrastructure and installation of all relevant signal-boosting equipment.

By improving mobile phone coverage, MIP will help "connect rural communities, create local jobs and contribute to economic growth," the government said in a statement. All four British mobile network operators will provide their services from the MIP infrastructure, "maximizing the benefits to all consumers," it said.

[ Can you hack cell coverage? Read Drop Your Cell Plan And Still Use Your Phone. ]

The original MIP schedule called for a contract to be signed in the spring of 2012 with a completion date of 2015. The completion date has been revised to 2017, with a 20-year maintenance agreement, Arqiva told InformationWeek.

Arqiva's appointment represents "great news for rural communities throughout the U.K." which stand to "benefit enormously" from the attempt to improve mobile phone coverage, said Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who is responsible for expanding British communications infrastructure, including rural broadband, in a statement. "Good mobile connectivity is becomingly increasingly important and it is crucial that businesses and individuals are not left struggling with poor and intermittent coverage."

Nicolas Ott, Arqiva's managing director of government, mobile and enterprise, said in a statement that "MIP perfectly fits within our strategy of creating a range of platforms -- cellular, Wi-Fi and small cells -- that provide mobile connectivity to all and support a thriving digital economy in the U.K."

MIP is part of a constellation of on-going projects sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ramp up British connectivity. Others include the £530 million ($813 million) rural broadband project and a £150 million ($230 million) "super-connected" cities program.

Arquiva provides a significant chunk of the infrastructure behind British TV, radio, satellite and wireless communications in the U.K., with customers including the BBC, ITV, satellite giant BSkyB and the U.K.'s four mobile network operators, plus some of its emergency services.

Arquiva and the government are expected to jointly announce this summer which parts of the country will be receiving the improved mobile coverage.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
10 Ways to Prepare Your IT Organization for the Next Crisis
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/20/2020
IT Spending Forecast: Unfortunately, It's Going to Hurt
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/15/2020
Helping Developers and Enterprises Answer the Skills Dilemma
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/19/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Flash Poll