Welcoming the Government’s announcement today of a £1 billion agreement to take 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK landmass by the end of 2025, NI Chamber Head of Policy Christopher Morrow said:
“Today’s announcement is a long-overdue step in the right direction. Access to mobile voice and data services is a basic requirement of business today. It is essential to consumers and for linking people and communities.
“5G and current 4G networks have often been rolled out slower in Northern Ireland compared to other nations of the UK. This is often because planning regulations have not kept up with reforms that are happening elsewhere. Without a Government over the previous three years, draft legislation that sought to update the planning system has become stalled and as a result Northern Ireland risks once again not being at the front of the queue with 5G.
“NI Chamber therefore believes that now is the time for a Mobile Action Plan for Northern Ireland that will look at all aspects of policy and planning regulations. With better connectivity comes better productivity. Sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture stand to benefit from new connected technologies and AI. Businesses will be able to benefit from and lead in new markets such as AI, fintech or robotics.”
In Northern Ireland, the Shared Rural Network will see 4G coverage from all four operators rise to a minimum of 85%, up from 75% in 2020, and coverage from at least one MNO increase to 98%, allowing rural business to prosper and rural communities to thrive.