Cornerstone CEO Pat Coxen’s experience in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park underscores the importance of mobile infrastructure and mobile connectivity

Cornerstone CEO Pat Coxen’s experience in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park underscores the importance of mobile infrastructure and mobile connectivity

There is nothing like a real-life experience to bring home the importance of mobile phone coverage. On a cold weekend in mid-February, Pat Coxen, the CEO of Cornerstone, the largest mobile infrastructure company in the UK, was able to see first-hand the life-saving benefit that mobile infrastructure and mobile networks bring, even in the most remote areas on an everyday basis.

Pat commented, “I feel very privileged to be close enough to walk or run in Bannua Brycheiniog National Park in Wales. I headed there with a friend for a quick walk around and over Pen Y Fan and despite the wet weather, we were thoroughly enjoying the walk. As we descended one of the steepest tracks on the route, we noticed a small group of walkers on the side of the path.
A lady in the group had slipped and fallen, was in pain, and appeared to have broken her ankle, leaving the group a difficult walk/carry of at least 3 miles to the nearest car park and much further to a town. It was clear to everyone that the lady would not be walking anywhere, so the only option was to call for emergency services.

Very helpfully, the area of the incident had mobile coverage (it isn’t everywhere in the National Park), so the group leader called emergency services and, using the mobile network-enabled location-sharing app, What3Words, was able to very simply, without a map grid reference, share their location and get medical support and guidance from the rescue services.

Once we had done as much as we could to help, we continued our walk and a few minutes later, watched the emergency services rescue helicopter fly in to pick up the casualty (we hope they are well).”

Reflecting on the incident, Pat remarked, "We know that building mobile infrastructure for mobile phone companies to then make available to consumers is important, especially delivering coverage in rural areas that have traditionally had less, or no coverage. However, in pursuit of ‘hitting the numbers’, we can sometimes get a little detached from the real reason we are doing the job. I have no doubt that access to mobile coverage significantly speeded up the rescue of the injured lady and gave some medical comfort to the rest of the group that she was going to be ok”.

“As a mobile infrastructure company, Cornerstone is often met with opposition in building mobile towers. Communities and special interest groups raise visual and environmental concerns about the potential impact of mobile phone masts in remote areas and we listen carefully and respond to those concerns. At the same time, it is also true that most people rely on connectivity to live their lives, and therefore, the infrastructure is essential, not ‘nice to have’. Mobile and Fixed infrastructure and mobile phone companies are building for an inevitable future where digital connectivity will need to be ubiquitous. Connectivity isn't just about making calls or sending messages. It enhances safety, builds connections, drives economic activity, and changes lives," states Coxen.

Looking to the future, the Cornerstone CEO is clear that “technology and nature can and must co-exist, and this is an important balancing act; we must find the right balance between progress with preservation, delivering the transformative power of digital technology, whilst preserving the natural beauty of the countryside. As other European countries upgrade their infrastructure, maintaining pace is crucial to ensuring Britain remains at the forefront of innovation.”