In an agreement announced earlier this week English National Parks are set to receive upgrades to their mobile phone coverage. The aim is to reduce the number of signal-free areas, and bring consistent, high quality connectivity to more remote homes and businesses.
The Accord brokered between National Parks England and the Mobile Operators Association aims to improve the network in out of the way corners, including better mobile broadband, but to do it in a way that minimises the effect on scenery and the environment.
National Park Authorities and mobile companies have agreed to collaborate more closely on the siting and planning of any new phone masts, and to consider options for sharing masts between different providers if it helps to reduce the landscape impact.
Inaccessible upland locations tend to be both environmentally sensitive and less attractive to invest in (higher infrastructure costs; fewer customers), and in these cases both parties have promised to 'seek to find solutions'. Whatever that means.
Chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority, Jim Bailey, said:
'National Parks have always been about finding pragmatic long term solutions to the many competing demands on land. Ensuring modern telecommunications infrastructure is no different. [Monday's] agreement will be good for the thousands of businesses and people living in our National Parks, for the millions who visit them, and for the stunning landscapes and towns that are the lifeblood for our rural economies.'