Budget 2016: Osbourne pledges mobile mast law change

Budget 2016: Osbourne pledges mobile mast law change

Chancellor George Osbourne has pledged to make it easier to build mobile masts.

In the 2016 Budget Osbourne said he will reduce planning restrictions for existing infrastructure. This will give greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to building new masts.

The law change marks the Government’s latest step to improve mobile coverage across the UK. It will look to tackle many of the problems the Government was made aware off when it launched its £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project.

Originally set up to boost rural mobile signal, the project soon hit a wall after planning permission, extreme locations and site access meant that the number of masts deployed fell way below its target.

The issue of access to mast sites been debated heavily over the last year, with both networks and MPs calling for changes to the law.

Vodafone argued that site access laws prevented operators from fixing mast faults, while MP’s took to the Houses of Parliament to slam landowners for charging ‘ransom rents’ to access mobile mast sites.

The issue has seen MPs from a number of rural constituencies call for a law to enable customers with poor mobile signal to break contracts with their mobile networks.

Smartphone unlocking

The Budget also focused on preventing mobile networks from charging customers to unlock their smartphones outside of a contract. The Autumn Statement 2015 saw the Government call on the mobile industry to do more to end this practice, with Osbourne now launching a consultation on the matter.

 

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