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Broadband: Scandinavia

Question for Department for Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 215117, tabled on 18 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if he will undertake an assessment of the potential lessons that can be learned from Scandanavia in delivering (a) mobile telephone signal coverage and (b) faster broadband speeds; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

25 November 2014

My Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not undertaken any specific assessment of the Scandinavian model for providing mobile services but as part of its long-term economic plan, Government it is working with industry to ensure that the UK has a vibrant digital economy. We are investing up to £150 million to improve mobile coverage in areas where there is currently no coverage from any of the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) through the Mobile Infrastructure Project. Additionally, we are currently consulting on proposals to improve mobile phone coverage in areas where there is a signal from one or more of the UK network operators, but not all four. The consultation closes on 26 November and is available on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/tackling-partial-not-spots-in-mobile-phone-coverage

All four MNOs are also rolling out 4G mobile services that will provide faster mobile broadband. This rollout is expected to be the quickest in Europe and should deliver excellent coverage both indoors and outdoors. As a condition of the 4G spectrum they acquired by auction in 2013, O2 has an obligation to provide indoor 4G coverage to at least 98% of the UK population (and at least 95% of the population of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) by the end of 2017. The other three MNOs have publically committed to matching this coverage by the end of 2015. This will help ensure UK consumers continue to benefit from excellent mobile services at competitive rates.