PMQs - Improving Rural Connectivity

Boosting mobile phone connectivity in Angus remains a “top priority” for the UK Government, according to the Prime Minister.

Scottish Conservative MP Kirstene Hair has campaigned for better digital connectivity across her constituency since being elected in 2017.

She has worked on the impending roll-out of the Shared Rural Network Initiative, co-funded by the UK Government, which will make mobile coverage issues a “thing of the past”.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, she was given assurances from the Prime Minister that the UK Treasury understands the value of driving 4G rollout across rural areas such as those in her constituency.

Ms Hair asked in the Commons:

“Connectivity across Angus is one of the most urgent issues in my constituency and I want to see full coverage mobile roll-out throughout my constituency.

“I therefore wholeheartedly support the shared rural network initiative, which is a joint initiative between the Government and the four main mobile providers ensuring that we have masts in “not spot” areas and reciprocal agreements between the operators to ensure that my constituents, and constituents across the United Kingdom, have that access.

“Will the Prime Minister assure me that he understands that connectivity is a top priority in Angus, and will he ensure that the funding that needs to go into this initiative to get it going will be given?”

 

Boris Johnson credited “the voice of Angus” for her campaign on digital connectivity.

He said:

“We are indeed engaged in not just levelling up the provision of gigabit broadband across the whole of the country but improving the 4G mobile signal as well.

“It is our ambition to have 95% of the UK covered by the 4G mobile signal.

“We have made changes to the regulations and the planning laws to make it easier for the infrastructure to be put in place.

“The Chancellor has just assured me that her particular request is going to be addressed.”

Ms Hair said later:

“I’ve been campaigning to make sure this project gets the funding needed to make mobile coverage issues a thing of the past.

“It’s a jointly funded project between the mobile providers and the UK Government, so today I took the matter directly to the Prime Minister.

“I was delighted to hear him confirm the Chancellor will look into as a priority.”