EE has boosted 4G coverage in the southern Lake District following the upgrade of two masts.
The Lake District is the most visited national park in the UK, with upwards of 15 million visitors every year. It has previously been poorly served in terms of mobile coverage.
The masts have been upgraded as part of the £1 billion Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative to extend 4G connectivity to rural communities. The aim is to cover 95 per cent of the UK’s geography by the end of 2025. The SRN programme aims to use mast-sharing on existing sites in rural areas where some, but not all mobile networks, have coverage. It will also develop new-shared masts to connect areas that currently have no coverage at all. EE has upgraded 1,500 rural locations so far under the programme
One of the upgraded masts is located between Coniston Water and Windermere, bringing coverage to locations including Hay Bridge Nature Reserve, Rusland and parts of Grizedale Forest.
The other is to the southeast of Windermere Lake, providing improved coverage to rural areas including Cartmel Fell, Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve and down towards the River Kent estuary and Milnthorpe – including a large section of the A590.
The masts are discretely situated in non-intrusive areas while providing maximum signal.
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “This improved connectivity can deliver a big boost to rural communities like ours, supporting residents, local businesses and visitors with faster 4G mobile internet access and high-quality, reliable calling. The Lake District is one of the most iconic parts of the British countryside, so it is great to see remote areas getting the infrastructure they need to thrive in the digital age.”
NFU Cumbria County chairman and farmer Ian Bownes said: “We welcome this significant investment as it will help some of our farm businesses who have historically struggled with connectivity issues. Submitting VAT returns, GPS on tractors, talking to customers and much more, all rely on strong connectivity, and consistent access to the internet is needed for farmers so they can comply with UK regulations and operate their businesses efficiently.
“Mobile signal is also critically important for health and safety, in an industry where farmers often need to work in remote areas on their own. The NFU will continue to campaign for investment in the country’s digital technology infrastructure, which is key to productive farming businesses.”