Mobile carrier O2 is working to eradicate mobile signal ‘not-spots’ by extending 4G coverage at 91,000 areas across the UK – including 400 tourist destinations.
O2 says it wanted to ensure people would have adequate coverage as the country prepared for a ‘staycation boom’ from July 4 – as coronavirus-easing lockdown measures are eased and tourism firms allowed to re-open.
A number of National Trust and English Heritage sites have been included in the 4G signal boost including the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury.
O2 says as well as helping holidaymakers stay connected and up to date with the latest news even when ‘off the beaten track’, it will also help local businesses.
St Augustine’s College chapel part of St Augustine’s Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the locations to get a 4G signal boost ahead of the expected ‘staycation’ boom
O2 says it now has 4G at 18,000 regional towns, villages and hamlets improving connectivity across the country as a whole
Rural connectivity and fixing ‘not spots’ in less populated areas is a big issue and comes as part of government measures to improve national connectivity.
The firm claims to now have 4G coverage in over 18,000 regional towns, villages and hamlets – which also reduces network congestion and improves download speeds.
The announcement comes at a critical time as the nation emerges from the pandemic with a renewed reliance on technology.
Millions of people have been working from home and home schooling, or even just reliant on the internet for entertainment during coronavirus lockdown.
People have also had to rely on phone calls, Facetime and other more distant connections to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues.
O2 experienced an initial 25 per cent increase in phone calls at the start of the pandemic, with people spending 30 per cent longer on the phone.
O2’s continued 4G rollout has benefitted off-the-beaten-track locations, including dozens of hamlets – from Inveruglas on the shore of Loch Lomond, to Cynheidre in South Wales.
Other well-known destinations include the famous Cat and Fiddle road in the Peak District, and Machrihanish Beach on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland, just in time for what is expected to be the nation’s biggest stay-at-home summer.
This means that local holidaymakers can visit these picturesque beauty spots with the reassurance that they can keep connected with family and use Google Maps.
The news also comes in the wake of the government’s announcement on a Shared Rural Network – this is a move to get carriers to work together on rural coverage.
O2 claims it is leading the charge on connecting even the smallest rural communities – down to hamlets with less than ten residents.
Inveruglas , a hamlet on the west shore of Loch Lomond is one of the places given a 4G signal boost to ensure visitors can stay connected while out on ‘staycation’
‘O2 will continue to work hand in hand with the Government and businesses to accelerate productivity, building a strong digital infrastructure that will help rebuild Britain,’ the company said.
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2 said it had never been more important to keep people connected in the wake of coronavirus.
‘We have a collective responsibility to help rebuild our nation, and the telecoms industry stands at the forefront of this effort,’ he said.
‘With the government signalling a return of tourism in the coming days and weeks, we want to make it easy for people to enjoy summer safely.
‘All with the knowledge that they can venture to pockets of the countryside and still keep in touch with friends and family.’
He said the firm would continue to add 4G to even smaller rural communities across the country, as well as boost its 5G network to more locations.