Osborne pledges £150m to boost mobile coverage

George Osborne

George Osborne today confirmed a 150 million boost for mobile phone coverage in the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the money would be used to extend mobile coverage for up to six million people living and working in so-called not-spots.

We do all this for a better Britain and a stronger economy.

The overall aim is to extend mobile service coverage to 99 per cent of the UK population by working with the regulator Ofcom. Osborne confirmed during the Conservative Party Conference additional mobile phone mast sites will be procured from 2012 to increase coverage.

The Government will consult with local communities on installing new mobile phone masts, designed to improve connectivity and productivity across the country.

It forms part of the Government's drive to improve the UK economy during these turbulent times.

"We do all this for a better Britain and a stronger economy," Osborne said.

"I don't pretend to you that these are not difficult days but together we will move into the calmer, brighter seas beyond."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to announce further details on the mobile plans soon.

"This injection of cash will significantly improve the lives of millions of people and help the growth of thousands of small businesses," said Communications Consumer Panel chair Bob Warner.

"Inadequate mobile coverage is a major concern for the Panel, and we have campaigned for intervention to improve coverage for rural communities and small businesses."

There are currently fears over how well the mobile phone spectrum auction will turn out and Osborne did not address whether the funding would be used to up 3G and future 4G coverage.

Fresh Enterprise Zones

Osborne also announced two additional Enterprise Zones which will benefit from superfast broadband connections.

Lancashire and the Hull and Humber Local Enterprise Partnerships will be invited to develop proposals for two new Enterprise Zones as the Government wants to look for a way to make up for the planned BAE Systems job losses.

The Conservatives said it wanted to "ensure the skilled manufacturing base in these areas is maintained."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.