Feeds

Gov to spread mobile masts to remote corners of Blighty

We'll each pay £2.42 to hook up the shepherds

The essential guide to IT transformation

The UK's Chancellor has confirmed that the government will sink £150m into buying up cell sites with the intention of extending rural coverage to 99 per cent of the population.

Ofcom will advise the government on how it should go about spending our cash on sites for base stations to be utilised by multiple operators, with the intention of creating greater coverage for existing networks and encouraging operators to roll out next-generation services to the edges of the UK.

Details are still scant, with more to come from the Department of Fun (properly Culture, Media and Sport) at some future point, but the basic idea is to buy up sites during 2012 and make them commonly available by early 2013. Operators will be able to move in cheaply, to provide service to the six million or so people who currently aren't getting blanket coverage today, hopefully with 3G or 4G services, but at least 2G.

Other countries have subsidised rollouts before, particularly those with dispersed populations, but generally by paying one operator to build a network and mandating that customers of other networks be allowed to roam onto it. That's quick and simple, but only provides a single technology and reduces competitive pressure to increase coverage.

So the UK plan will probably involve hiring Arqiva or similar to build cell sites, and then rent them out cheaply to operators who can deploy whatever technology they see fit. If the UK's 4G auction manages to go ahead as planned that should be LTE, as it offers greater flexibility and (at 800MHz) greater range than 2G, but even if the auction gets delayed another year or two we should see 2G deployed or perhaps 3G in 2G frequencies.

So we'll be able to stay connected to Twitter from the mountains of the Highlands through the Lakes and down to the coastline of Cornwall, for only a hundred and fifty million quid - quite a bargain. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH
Congratulations, world media, for rediscovering submarine cable armour
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?