We waited and waited to see if the DCMS was going to actually publish the proposals so that it was possible to see what was actually said, rather than the short quotes from the Culture Secretary but as of 9:45am the DCMS website where in theory any policy consultation on mobile coverage should appear is still headlining with the free public WiFi news of five days ago.
Update 11am The consultation is now online, Tackling Partial Not-Spots in Mobile Phone Coverage.
Addressing mobile not-spots is something people both in rural and urban parts of the UK have moaned about for some years, and in theory the Mobile Infrastructure Project was meant to help improve things, but after the initial deployment of a couple of new masts as far as we are aware the £150m project has done very little, £150m to help just some 60,000 does not represent value for money.
"I’m determined to ensure the UK has world-class mobile phone coverage as investment in infrastructure will help drive this Government’s long-term economic plan.
It can’t be right that in a fifth of the UK, people cannot use their phones to make a call. The Government isn’t prepared to let that situation continue.
We’ve been talking to the mobile companies about the problem and they are working with us to find a solution.
This consultation will complement the work industry is doing and allow the Government to hear from the wider telecoms sector, businesses and the public.
Businesses have been clear about the importance of mobile phones and improved coverage will help deliver jobs and economic security."Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary
There is a consultation due to appear with a deadline of the 26th November, which will not give industry long to produce fully fleshed out responses, but our response is that while resolving not-spots for voice services is a noble task, why is the Government only addressing 2G coverage? 2G means only GPRS based data services which is effectively useless for accessing the digital world, if the Government is serious about world-class mobile coverage it would be looking to ensure universal 4G coverage, not an easy task but technically possible.
To make voice available to everyone, ideas such as mast sharing and a national roaming scheme are proposed, but as some mobile operators have previously reached agreements and have reshaped their network some people have seen cell towers dismantled and coverage reduced as operators reduce costs via mast sharing. Deploying the more efficient 4G and speeding up the process to release the 700 MHz band which will improve coverage from existing towers needs to be proper priority and combine this with access to lower cost backhaul infrastructure will help avoid the I have full bar signal but data traffic is crawling problem.
This new MKII attempt to resolve mobile voice coverage might just be a reflection that we are only 6 months away from the next General Election.
Now having read the report, rather than the interpretation of what others have said we can summarise the 53 pages.
The report has a series of questions that are posed and where public and industry views are sought, with responses required by 26th November 2014.