Wales has an action plan to boost mobile infrastructure

Friday, October 6th 2017

The Welsh government has published a plan to improve mobile infrastructure and boost connectivity in Wales. The action plan is a fallout of the meeting held earlier this year between Julie James, the skills and science minister, Ofcom and mobile operators. It aims to help operators by making it easier for them to get planing permission for mobile masts and also reducing non-domestic rates on them.

The document used by the planning authorities of Wales, to create development plans, the Planning Policy Wales, will get an update to highlight the positive relationship between telecoms and the economy. The government is encouraging providers to work closely with organisers of major events where there is all likelihood of high demand for mobile services, like the Royal Welsh Show. Minister Julie James agrees mobile connectivity need to be better and sees particular challenges to improve it. The plan outlines what government can do to help, but leverage comes from Ofcom and the UK's central government, she added.

She pointed out that we need to hit a right balance between local economy benefits of better mobile reach and with the need to safeguard Wales' delicate landscape, as its topography brings many challenges. She said Wales will continue to play an important role in supporting 'emerging technologies' in the sector for mobile communications and will work closely with operators to develop innovative solutions for rural areas. The minister pointed out that Superfast Cymru projects have improved connectivity already, by rolling out fibre broadband to over 653,000 premises in Wales.

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