EE will upgrade nearly thirty 4G sites in the East Midlands in 2021 as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative to extend coverage in rural areas across the UK.
SRN is a programme between the UK’s four mobile network operators and the UK Government to extend 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK’s geography by the middle of this decade. The upgrades announced today fall under the first phase of the Shared Rural Network, where EE will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ by 2024.
EE has already upgraded its 4G network in 25 locations across England since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020 to bring improved connectivity to each nation. Six sites have already been upgraded in the East Midlands in the past 12 months, with 26 in total to be completed by the end of the year.
Locations to be upgraded in 2021 include:
· Ashover, North East Derbyshire, Derbyshire
· Brampton, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
· Pilsley, Derbyshire Dales, Derbyshire
· Allexton, Harborough, Leicestershire
· A153, Haltham, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· Addlethorpe, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· Mareham le Fen, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· Roughton, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· Wragby, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· Broughton, North Lincolnshire
· Moulton Seas End, South Holland, Spalding, Lincolnshire
· Bitchfield and Bassingthorpe, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· B1176, Little Bytham, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· Careby Aunby and Holywell, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· Stoke Rochford, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· Swayfield, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· Witham on the Hill, South Kesteven, Lincolnshire
· Bullington, West Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· Market Rasen, West Lindsey, Lincolnshire
· B645, Hargrave, Northamptonshire
· King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire
· Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire
· M1, Quinton, Northamptonshire
· Barnby Moor, Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire
· Rufford CP, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire
· Tickencote, Rutland
Across the UK, a total of 579 locations are to benefit from the extended EE 4G coverage by the end of 2021 – 333 in England, 132 in Scotland, 76 in Wales, and 38 in Northern Ireland. All sites have been made available for other operators to share under the SRN scheme.
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: "I'm delighted to see the great strides EE is making to boost 4G services in countryside communities as part of the Shared Rural Network agreement, which was brokered and is part funded by the government.
"We're investing half a billion pounds in this landmark deal to extend mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK and it will help us build back better from the pandemic."
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “Reliable connectivity is important wherever you live, work or travel, and we’re committed to improving and adding coverage to even the most remote areas. The investment BT has made in rural areas to date means we already have the infrastructure in place needed to extend our 4G coverage footprint further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build. There are many places where EE is the only provider with 4G coverage today, offering the other operators an opportunity to share our existing sites to plug gaps in their networks and improve mobile performance for everyone.”
EE has extended its 4G network to cover areas with high summer demand, including all 15 of Great Britain’s National Parks*, coastal locations and roads. Coverage in National Parks has increased by more than 200KM², the equivalent of more than 40,000 football fields, and EE’s 4G network now covers 94% of roads in Great Britain.
Mike McKinley, Chair of National Parks England, said: “The extension, and introduction, of 4G coverage across more rural areas is welcome news for National Park communities and visitors, and will help meet increased demand for fast, reliable connectivity.
“Digital connectivity is a vital part of modern life, and this news will also benefit the residents of National Parks, many of whom currently live in isolated areas with no access to mobile coverage.
“As we look ahead to this summer 2021, National Parks is anticipating a large influx of visitors. These visitors will now have access to better and more reliable mobile coverage, giving them the opportunity to use important tools such as ‘SaferLakes’ which helps visitors enjoy these special landscapes, while ensuring they are protected for future generations.”
EE has extended its 4G network to cover areas with high summer demand, including beauty spots, national parks, coastal locations and roads.