Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has promised £150m to provide better mobile coverage in the UK, 'cos that's just what we need to stimulate the economy. Talking on The Today show this morning the Chancellor promised a freeze on council tax while vowing to invest in developing applications for the miracle material …
But, but, but they were going to scrap Ofcom and believe in localism
I thought that the Conservatives were going to scrap Ofcom and that they believed in localism (i.e. not removing local control of Council Taxes).
Surely most of the not spots are where (almost) nobody lives otherwise why wouldn't the mobile operators invest themselves. Oh well at least the government has plenty of money at the moment and there is no financial crisis going on.
It's not always places where no-one lives. Sometimes it is because another operator got there first. I have a great Orange 3G signal but bugger all on O2 or Voda, simply because Orange got in with the masts first. Now O2 won't boost their coverage (even though smart metering requires a decent signal) because Orange won't share.
One obvious answer that would meet the needs of many parties and perhaps lie with Ofcom would be the shared way forward. The example of site blocking could be answered by ensuring that available sites were shared. this might need a change to the license conditions and perhaps that would need a limited buyout of rights?
Other options may well be needed in parallel.
I see a future in shared infrastructure made available on a 'cost of the benefit basis' to any operator prepared to join the party on a non exclusive basis. Investment would thus be more of the 'seed' type than the 'money down the drain basis' of most government IT and communications schemes.
This telco got there first and wont share
Perhaps what we need, is a nationalised (or Not For Profit Organisation) that managed and ran all transmitters that any provider could use, you could call it the national gridamathingy
But what happens
if the money is given to Arqiva , the masts are built but the wonderful phone companies decide not to take Arqiva up on the lease as there's not enough profit.
Will we end up with £150M worth of unused mobile infrastructure?
£150m would buy a lot of phone boxes. Or dare I say, hospital beds?
If they must insist on sqandering our tax money why not use it to force operators to share masts.
Mind you, that would require common sense.
There is one particular set of locations where very few people live, but a lot of people pass through: railway lines. Rush hour train passengers are high-value high-productivity workers. Giving them the ability to hold a telephone conversation and/or connect to the internet while on a train would be an effective boost to the economy. It would certainly be a lot cheaper than HS2.
Well,which companies are big party donors?
That's publicly documented, isn't it?
However, smart companies give to all of the big political parties, so they can claim that it's all right somehow. I don't understand the argument.
Shared Networks not the Panacaea
A series of similar fixed BB Government incentives are distributed by local authorities to ISPs (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/27/broadband_rollout_devon_norfolk_wiltshire/), so I can't see why a similar approach would not work with mobile BB? An operator with some local infrastructure/RNC/BSC would find it cheaper to tender to fill in the areas not yet covered.
As for those suggesting making these sites shared, are you suggesting that the lack of a business case in the past 20 years for any of the operators to cover a patch of land/road/rail line would suddenly be overcome to the extent that you can have a free choice of operator because they all deploy there???
In any case NNMBYs (Nowhere Near MBYs) would object to the planning applications that the larger structures require for shared sites would entail, and then would complain that a site disguised as a scots pine was inappropriate in a national park, it should be a douglas fir (sub-species Carnt beyarsed).
George Osborne's big idea
George Osborne appears to want to make it easier for Employers to treat their Workers as they were treated in this shameful episode http://tiny.cc/k7aep