English National Parks to Get Better Mobile Phone Coverage
England’s National Parks are places of great peace and beauty, but for the modern person there is nothing more frustrating than the lack of mobile phone signal bound to be experienced in these places. And while mobile broadband has become the norm for urban folk, the people who live and work in some of the more remote parts of the country are yet to have enjoyed this “everyday” luxury.
But technological change is just around the corner! National Parks England have come to an agreement with the four main mobile network operators (Vodafone, Three, O2 and EE) who make up part of the Mobile Operators Association (MOA), to get improved mobile coverage into our National Parks.
These beautiful regions have more than 330,000 people residing in them and make up about 10% of England: Peak District, Lake District, North York Moors, Exmoor, Dartmoor, the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland, The Broads, New Forest, and South Downs.
At the moment, the radio waves that carry mobile phone signals from mast to mast are often obstructed by the National Parks’ hilly terrain, and can also be affected by stone buildings – which is why even some houses in urban areas have poorer signals than others.
National Parks England Director Paul Hamblin explained that for mobile signals to be boosted in natural regions, new phone masts may have to be built, though in such a way that the environments are still protected.
“There are compelling social and economic reasons for having good mobile connectivity, including mobile broadband, in rural areas,” added MOA Executive Director John Cooke, explaining that better connectivity will help local people overcome the difficulties that come from living in such isolated locations, such as poor transport links. He said that better mobile phone coverage will also help the people living in these areas to “survive and thrive in the 21st century”.
It has been noted, however, that people visiting such areas shouldn’t become lax in their preparation once the mobile coverage issue has been addressed. While mobile phones do often come equipped with their own inbuilt maps and compasses, they do also run out of battery, and this will be something to think about when going for a hike in the future.
Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, explained that while England’s National Parks are great areas of incredible beauty, they are also still places where people work and live, and these people need the same kind of access to modern communication that those in the rest of the country have been able to take advantage of for years now.
“The new agreement could make a real difference,” he said, “to those who love, work, or visit our glorious National Parks.”