Upton-upon-Severn to finally get 4G mobile coverage from O2
Following a long battle to get another mobile phone mast installed, residents of Upton-upon-Severn are finally to get 4G from O2.
The new mast will provide coverage across the Worcestershire town, as well as surrounding villages including Ryall, Tunnell Hill and Newbridge Green.
For some time, residents and local business organisations had been calling for improved coverage, saying the poor signal in the area was 'unacceptable'. The case was taken up by MP for West Worcestershire Harriett Baldwin three years ago.
However, last summer, plans for a new mast at nearby Portman's Farm were turned down by Malvern Hills District Council for the second time. Councillors were concerned about the effect that the installation would have on the local wildlife, which includes badgers and great crested newts.
However, this week, the 15-metre mast and base station were finally approved by the council after a concerted campaign.
"This site serves to highlight the importance of key stakeholders – industry, planners, local authority, business groups and elected representatives – working together to ensure investment in our network can go further for our customers," said O2's chief network officer Brendan O'Reilly.
To be built by Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL) on behalf of O2 and Vodafone, the new mast will allow both companies to improve their 2G, 3G and 4G services in the area.
"I have been working hard with the mobile operators to deliver improved phone signals for people who live and work in and around Upton-upon-Severn and I am delighted with the new site from O2 which I hope will see better coverage for its customers," said local MP Ms Baldwin.
"For many years people have struggled to make and receive calls in the centre of Upton and I look forward to hearing positive feedback on what difference this mast is making as we approach the peak of the tourist season."
O2 now offers 4G in over 17,000 cities, towns and villages across the UK; according to Ofcom, it provides indoor coverage for 98% of the population. Since the start of last year, it's launched 4G in over 90 locations across Worcestershire, including Bewdley, Tenbury Wells, Offenham, Naunton and Little Malvern.
However, despite heavy investment by the phone companies, there are still far too many 'not-spots' around the UK, particularly in rural areas. In a report late last year, Ofcom revealed that 'total' geographic 4G coverage, where reception is available from all four mobile operators, is available across just 43% of the UK.
Ofcom is now planning to consult on detailed plans to improve coverage in rural areas. It plans to set coverage obligations for phone companies that are awarded 700MHz frequencies, which can provide strong coverage over very wide areas.
Meanwhile, O2's plans for Worcestershire don't end with 4G. The company is also taking part in a project led by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to host a 5G testbed at the Malvern Hills Science Park.
The aim is to provide a platform for local and national businesses to develop next-generation technology in preparation for the launch of 5G.
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