Better phones 4 U for remote areas

Darlington and Stockton Times: Improved reception: New deal could improve mobile reception in National Parks Improved reception: New deal could improve mobile reception in National Parks

IMPROVED mobile phone reception is on the cards for thousands living in some of the region's most remote areas.

One of the major problems for those living, working and visiting national parks such as the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors is the often appalling mobile phone service.

But there’s been a previous unwillingness to invest in new masts as they can be a blot on the landscape and costs are high.

Now the Mobile Operators Association, which represents O2, EE, Vodafone and Three, has agreed a deal to boost coverage across the national parks without, they say, spoiling the views.

They intend to use new technology to extend the coverage of existing masts and work with park authorities to bring reasonable service to many customers who currently struggle for a signal.

Jim Bailey, Chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park said: “The agreement will be good for the thousands of businesses and people living in our National Parks, for the millions who visit them, and for the stunning landscapes and towns that are the lifeblood of our rural economies.”.

Executive Director for the Mobile Operators Association John Cooke said the deal is a step forward. “Operators have worked well with National Parks England to ensure that the benefits of mobile connectivity reach communities in these beautiful parts of our country and help them survive and thrive in the 21st century,”he added.

Ian King, Clerk of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council said improvements were desperately needed.

“It is a big problem for many people. For some customers there is virtually no service round here at all, others can get some coverage. If I want to send a text I often have to go upstairs, even though I will have received a text downstairs, it is extremely unreliable.

“Many people only give out landline numbers, they often don’t give out mobiles, particularly businesses because they can’t trust they will work.”

Deputy chairman of the Dales National Park, Harold Brown, who farms in Swaledale said it is a real issue for some people.

“It is a real problem in the hill areas, there are plenty of places that don’t have mobile phone coverage at all. And with more and more people using mobile phones and broadband this needs to be addressed. “

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