A £1m contract to build masts in North Yorkshire is a “significant step forward” to improve mobile phone coverage in Yorkshire’s most rural county, a leading councillor has said.
North Yorkshire County Council has awarded the contract to communications infrastructure company Arqiva, which will now liaise with network operators to finalise the best locations for masts, which are expected to be operational by March 2020.
Firms were invited to bid to erect masts after a survey commissioned by the County Council identified several locations in North Yorkshire that currently have no 4G coverage.
Funding for the work comes from the Government’s Local Growth Fund grant secured by the County Council from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP).
North Yorkshire’s executive member for access, Coun Don Mackenzie, said: “This contract represents a significant step forward in our efforts to expand more widely high-quality mobile phone coverage for residents and businesses.
“We already have a good relationship with mobile network operators and have been commended nationally on our forward-thinking approach.
“Strong mobile coverage is an important element of our support for maintaining and creating successful, thriving communities in all parts of North Yorkshire.”
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry, said the money invested in the project would ensure businesses in rural areas have the access to 4G coverage they need “to thrive and grow”.
He added: “Strong mobile phone coverage is vital to economic growth and ensuring that communities are connected.”
Telecoms and M2M managing director at Arqiva, David Crawford, said: “The benefits of having independent infrastructure is that multiple customers providing many different services can make use of the masts and towers that are built.”