mobile phone reception, and internet download speeds should be on the up with the auctioning off of the latest licences that are now available as television reception switches from analogue to digital.
Launching their consultation on the 2012 auction of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrums in early 2012, Ofcom say that licensees buying the spectrum must agree to extend their coverage to 95% of the UK population. The auction of the fourth generation, or 4G, spectrum will be equivalent to three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today.
Ofcom want to see more “uniformity of coverage” for 4G services across the UK and insist that a proportion of the population in rural areas would need to be covered by the new spectrum.
This has been welcomed by Borders MP Michael Moore who said: “The lack of mobile and internet coverage in the Borders is a constant frustration for people and businesses and I have been campaigning on these issues for many years.
“I welcome Ofcom’s decision to auction off this spectrum and the conditions that they have promised to put in place to ensure that people in rural areas do not lose out on the new service.
“I will be keeping an eye on the auction in 2012 where I will want to see rural areas getting the best deal possible from the new spectrum.
“I welcome Ofcom’s emphasis on these areas and I am looking forward to Borderers benefiting from improved mobile phone coverage and quicker download speeds as a result.”
The Federation of Small Businesses is looking for reassurance from all political parties in Scotland that they will work with Westminster to deliver ‘Next Generation Access’.
“The next Scottish Government must commit forge an agreement with Westminster to deliver faster and more reliable broadband to the country’s businesses and communities,” the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said, determined that Scottish small businesses and rural communities don’t lose out.
Andy Willox OBE, the Federation of Small Businesses’ Scottish Policy Convenor, said: “The roll-out and uptake next generation broadband is important to all of Scotland; private and public sector, business and consumer, third sector, schools, universities and colleges.
“Scotland’s geography and institutions must not mean we’re left behind.
“That is why it is vital that whoever forms the next Scottish Government works with the Scotland Office and Scotland’s local authorities to deliver on this issue. We cannot allow the various administrations to point fingers while public-sector bodies, businesses communities and families are unable to connect to the 21st century’s newest utility.”