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October 4, 2011

Government to spend £150m for wider mobile coverage in UK

New masts to be installed in attempt to cover 99% of the UK, says George Osborne

By CBR Staff Writer

The government has pledged £150m to get mobile coverage to 99% of the UK.

The Chancellor George Osborne said that remote places in the UK will soon have access to mobile phone services, with up to 6 million more people benefitting form the service, according to the Guardian.

Osborne said that the funds for the project will be collected from government department underspends. He hopes to improve coverage for voice calls and data connections for Internet services.The Chancellor added that local communities will be involved in the project.

Osborne said, "In consultation with local communities we will install new mobile phone masts, which will improve coverage for 6 million people. This will improve connectivity and productivity across the country."

At present mobile coverage in the UK remains skewed, with some regions having 95% covergae, while in regions like Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland masts only reach 90% of locations.

Most of the money will be alloted to build new masts, with procurement expected to begin next year, said the Guardian.

Recently, Virgin Media said that mobile phone networks in the city could face a "capacity crunch" during the Games unless thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots are built in time.

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Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett believes the process of building Wi-Fi infrastructure is moving slowly.

Berkett said, "The mobile networks are already facing a capacity crunch that, without widespread, consistent wi-fi, will leave people unable to do the most basic things such as keeping up to date with the latest travel situation and getting directions while out and about."

Earlier, London mayor Boris Johnson had warned that the mobile phone service would come under "massive strain" at peak times during the Olympic games.

UK 3 also has warned that it will run out of capacity on some masts in urban areas by the end of next year.

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