Improving mobile coverage in rural areas
Wednesday, 10 April 2019
Simon Oborn, Head of Property & Estates at Cornerstone wrote this recent article for Farmers Weekly, where he discusses the enhanced benefits improved mobile coverage will have on rural communities and businesses.
Poor connectivity in rural areas can have a significant adverse effect on the residents, local farms and businesses who require better mobile coverage to keep pace with today’s evolving digital society.
Changes to the Electronic Communications Code
In response to rural communities’ concerns, the Government made changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC) legislation in December 2017, making it easier for telecom operators to install and upgrade mobile infrastructure on sites. By bringing land valuations in line with their actual worth rather than their value to the telecom operators means that greater investment can be put into improving coverage to rural areas.
The ECC is a mechanism for bringing operators and landlords together to agree consensually on land valuations and rental terms. It’s a way of improving and extending mobile connectivity across the UK. The previous way of valuation would not have been commercially viable to provide the infrastructure now needed to support the demands for connectivity, particularly with data growth increasing exponentially.
The ECC has divided opinion. For some it is seen as a mechanism for building the UK’s digital future, for others, it’s a barrier to installing mobile infrastructure.
Cornerstone, the leader in UK mobile infrastructure, believe that if landlords and telecom operators work collaboratively together, they will create a far more positive change, more quickly, for rural communities to connect wherever and whenever they want.
Recent tribunal cases on the ECC (EE Limited and Hutchison 3G UK Limited vs The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Islington) point to consensual agreements being the preferred route rather than through the Lands Tribunal.
Better digital access bringing benefits to the rural economy
Significant benefits have already been gained from rural areas that have had mobile masts installed whether for homeowners, farmers, visitors, businesses or tourists. Having digital access saves time, money and effort which wouldn’t be possible with poor or no mobile connection. That’s why reliable mobile connectivity makes such a huge difference to the rural community.
"Cornerstone is committed to providing high-class mobile connectivity to the UK digital economy. Our mobile infrastructure is placed on rooftops, greenfield sites in rural locations and street work sites including monopoles for our customers Vodafone and Telefónica, amongst others."
Simon Oborn, Head of Property & Estates, Cornerstone