The UK has worse mobile internet than Albania, Romania and Peru according to a report issued by the National infrastructure commission. The report has slammed the lack of 4g availability in 80% of the country’s rural areas. It means that the UK is 54th in a global rank of countries when it comes to high speed internet.
The news will come as little surprise to those who live outside of Britain’s big cities. Where even on the outskirts 4g is rare.
Whilst it has significantly improved in recent years, the UK still has some way to go to become a world leader in mobile infrastructure. Former cabinet member for Labour Lord Adonis sits on the commission and has put pressure on the government to invest in bringing the UK’s mobile networks up to scratch. He said “5G is the future – ultra-fast, and ultra-reliable it has the potential to change our lives and our economy in ways we cannot even imagine today. But the UK is currently languishing in the digital slow lane.”
The UK lags significantly behind other large nations, with the US and Japan having several times the capability of the UK. The government has been asked to step in. Ensuring basic levels of quality reception in more places, especially in rural areas where a total lack of reception is still common, even as mobile technology has matured. Indeed many operator’s have factored this in and have produced signal boosting products, many of which have to be charged for. Whilst operator’s o2 and three do at least provide customers the opportunity to use their broadband connection to bolster signal whilst in the home for free via dedicated apps.
With the dawn of 5g communication coming into view it’s hoped that the UK will make a significant investment into infrastructure so that it can at least catch up with other developed nations. There will also he calls to amend rules on the service that operator’s provide, with many people pointing fingers at them for not investing enough in their networks. In most cases a customer cannot exit a contract even when there is no signal (after a short “cooling off” period) and have little legal pressure to do so.
Last month in his autumn statement chancellor Phillip Hammond announced funding for broadband in rural areas, and it’s hoped that when the next budget comes around some more money can be found to invest in infrastructure, though many will argue that this role belongs to private operator’s and not the government. Though through licensing and legislation the government could make the investment a winner. It would certainly be popular in rural areas, and could finally bring good service to all who pay for it.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.