Villages to receive mobile internet access

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Five rural communities in the region that are considered mobile data not-spots expect to have 3G coverage by the end of the year, after a commitment by communications giant Vodafone.

Bradfield near Sheffield, and Buckden, Markington, Melmerby and Scorton in North Yorkshire are among 100 rural areas shortlisted to receive coverage as part of the firm’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme.

Each village suffers from unreliable mobile coverage and slow network speeds but the improvements will bring “high quality” 3G voice services and internet access via mobile devices, Vodafone said.

Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone UK’s chief executive, said the programme was part of a £1 billion investment in its network: “We are committed to investing hugely in our network and using innovative technologies such as Sure Signal to provide coverage to rural communities means we can reach areas where it’s been impossible to reach using traditional means.”

The announcement is a step in the right direction, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said.

But Charles Trotmanm, one of the CLA’s rural business advisers, added: “We are still seriously concerned about the lack of investment in mobile phone coverage for rural Yorkshire as a whole.

“Not being able to make mobile phone calls impacts badly on existing rural businesses and also hinders farmers with plans to diversify or start up a new business venture.

“It is absolutely vital for Yorkshire’s rural economy that everyone in the region can access a clear mobile phone signal, irrespective of which network they are on.”