back to article mobile not-spot coverage project set to be completed in the year 2155AD

The government has fallen woefully short of its promise to provide mobile coverage to 60,000 homes in "not spot" areas across the UK, having only erected a meagre eight masts in more than two years. Over the last year the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has managed to erect six masts. Those masts built so far typically …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Ha ha

    There are large parts of my City without calls or data (I'm on Three but according to them there is a signal). Good luck to those in the country ......

  2. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If there is no power available locally, are they sure there are homes nearby which will benefit from a mobile signal?

    1. theModge

      I presume they want to put the transmitters on the top of hills and sadly not everyone shares my predilection for hill-top fortresses. Imagine rural North Wales, I'd guess there are plenty of places where by you'd be doing a lot of digging \ stringing up of power lines if you wanted to put a mast up, but there are still villages in the valleys bellow. I can't help but feel if you put the masts in valleys you'd need an awful lot more of them, much as RF engineering is a dark art as far as I'm concerned.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        RF engineering = black art, indeed

        Stick a mast up on a hilltop and the sides of the hill its on don't get much coverage due to antenna patterns. You can down tilt but there will probably be a lot of trees & contours in the way in such scenarios

        > DCMS said there had been problems finding locations that provide the coverage needed to satisfy projects requirements.

        Any they wonder why the mobile networks haven't bothered...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If there is no power available locally, are they sure there are homes nearby which will benefit from a mobile signal?"

      Rule of thumb, it's £100 a metre to lay cable into an open site. If there are tree roots, walls, other obstacles expect to double or triple it. If the best site for signal propagation is 500 metres away from the nearest point to hook up to, your site just got very expensive. You'd end up subisidising households to the tune of £10K just to provide the power to the site.

      Telcos are pretty savvy - if they've not chosen to provide coverage to an area, there'll be a reason for it.

  3. Yugguy


    Fuck 4 and 5g. Id just like a signal.

  4. Chloe Cresswell


    Near one site I work at is an O2 mast.

    On 3G, phones display a full signal, but you can't make/receive calls or SMS.

    On 2G you can, but phones won't drop to it due to the 3G signal.

    O2 say it's not an issue because the maps say there's coverage there.

    Filling in dead spots is nice, but it'd be even nicer if the networks would look after their systems as well. :(

  5. SundogUK

    Colour me surprised - government cannot meet the 'final value for money test' in places a commercial operation couldn't make any money...

  6. Jim99

    You must hate the Frenchman as you hate the Devil himself.

    Dear The Government,

    Please make 4G masts get installed every 200 yds down Britain's railways. I have been told the barrier to this is that British Rail's old telecoms network down the side of lines was flogged off after privatisation to THE FRENCH (ie. Thales) and they aren't interested in mobile masts attached to their cables. They must be bullied and threatened until they relent.

    Yours, etc.


    1. theModge

      Re: You must hate the Frenchman as you hate the Devil himself.

      Also the railway would for many different reasons benefit from continuous coverage as well, GSM-R doesn't offer much in that regard.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You must hate the Frenchman as you hate the Devil himself.

      " flogged off after privatisation to THE FRENCH"

      Large parts of the trackside cable routes were leased to Mercury, long before rail privatisation. At privatisation Cable & Wireless bought BR Telecomms, which Mercury's network had already been absorbed by. That C&W network was bought a year or so ago by Vodafone - so no, it's not the French.

  7. Richard 22

    linear progression

    Interesting that based on 2 data points of 2 in the first year and 6 in the first you assume a linear progression true for the next 140 years.

    The progression I would like to pull out of my arse is that they will perform 3x more mast installs than the previous year each year (this has the advantage of exactly fitting the 2 points we have already). Based on this I see that after 6 years there will be 728 masts installed serving 145600 people (200/mast).

    Numbers - they can tell whatever story you like...

  8. Thoguht Silver badge

    In the year 2155...

    If man is still alive,

    If woman can survive,

    They may find...

    One bar on their mobiles at friggin' last.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "there had been problems with site providers' willingness to allow a mast to be erected, local planning application"

    "I want a signal but NIMBY"


  10. Roger Mew


    There are severl points that need mentioning, First coverage, In days of yore we had house bricks with a ruddy great antenna with pretty good coverage, as time progressed the phones got smaller and battery life increased. The reasons are not all due to technology, most is due to a lower transmission power by both phone and pylon, second, the receiving amplifiers have got less "gain" eg they receive less. What is needed is both better transmission mast for TX and RX, and also for the phones to be able to increase automatically reception and transmission. That aint going to happen because the phone people want longer battery life and better reception and TX both hit that, and the masts will consume more energy and be more expensive. Why bother its only about 5-10% of the population. So you will NOT get it!

    Further Wimax is available and cheaper, but organisations like BT dont want that, it will knock their profits into a cocked hat. For example 1 wimax tx unit in the country area £20,000 3,000 mobile units, and 2000 semi fixed at say £100 each, no telephone lines 100% coverage yearly costs about £1000 and no future serious expenditure for say 20 years. 10Mb for each unit. Here in France Boyges Telecom have a licence, they have installed in 10 years erm...none Just think no more new phones, no more house installation charges for existing lines, no more charging people to repair outside lines that were charged as indoor faults. So folks you are NOT going to get the coverage.

    For the record, due to the speed at which FT work, I have personally been out and repaired broken telephone lines, run a temporary cable. Nobody dare say ought as the truth may then come out. A France Telecomm director said in front of witnesses, " oh we ignore problems from clients, they are just ignorant and cannot be expected to understand the system." A contractor told us that it took FT 3 days to notify of cut telephone lines.

    No you are not getting the coverage, one only has to look at the UK radio amateur coverage of repeaters to see what is possible.see

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Phones!

      "Further Wimax is available and cheaper, but organisations like BT dont want that"

      How does what BT wants affect anything? They don't have the power to stop another telco installing and using any kit legal for use in the UK.

      "ere in France Boyges Telecom have a licence, they have installed in 10 years erm...none"

      That's mainly because Wimax has been outpaced by other technologies. Even existing Wimax networks are beginning to migrate to LTE.

  11. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Everyone reading this will be DEAD

    I think the subheading may be a little pessimistic. Medical science is moving fast, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of our younger readers are in fact still alive in 2155 - however they WILL still be waiting for decent mobile coverage.

  12. James 100

    "In response to a Freedom of Information request, DCMS said there had been problems finding locations that provide the coverage needed to satisfy projects requirements."

    Wow, the places companies haven't already installed masts are places it's difficult to put masts. I'd never have thought of that either, where do I sign to get a government job?! *headdesk*

    Maybe if they'd focussed their efforts where government involvement would help - easing planning rules, providing access to government land like MoD sites, maybe waiving some listed building status so they could use the roof of a church or something where they couldn't before - it would actually have benefited us? Or they splurge millions to discover that actually, after two decades of multiple companies pouring billions into network builds, all the easy bits of a network build have already been done after all.

  13. Roger Mew

    Oh really

    It is patently obvious by some of the comments here that people do not understand radio. For those this is how a remote site is fed. You have a high power microwave transmitter aimed at the remote site. This is not usable as such but purely as a route for the mobile signals to pass to the remote mobile phone mast. It is this mobile phone mast that disseminates the signals to mobile phones. Now, one hears all the rhetoric about peoples health, well the MW link is the reason for killing people, the reason that people living near a mobile phone mast get headaches, sick etc.

    As I live outside the UK I can give this information, its on a "D" notice. many years ago a person had a house in Wales on a hill. Suddenly his bread maker blew up and he started having other electrical problems. Cutting the story short, it was suggested that he build a wire netting screen up from his house. He never finished it, men in black, military police, big saloons and some military lorries turned up. He was given a load of money and told to keep his mouth shut and go away. The money he got for "going away" meant that he did not need to work anymore etc.

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