Residents living in the villages know that I have been in contact with the Department for Culture Media and Sport, Department for Business and mobile phone operator for quite some time to try and improve rural mobile coverage.
Today I am pleased to confirm that the Government has struck a £1billion deal with the mobile phone industry to give high quality 4G coverage to 95% of the United Kingdom by 2025. The deal aims to provide additional coverage to 280,000 homes and businesses and 16,000km of roads.
All mobile phone operators have agreed to share their phone masts to improve coverage across the country - a fantastic move which will allow those in rural areas to stop being in a position where they constantly switch providers in order to call friends and family or use the internet.
This move follows on from Government proposals to overhaul planning rules and is and builds on the Prime Minister's plan to level up the country with world-class digital infrastructure.
Government owned mobile infrastructure which has been built as part of the Emergency Services Network will also be made available to all four operators, taking full advantage of Government assets. This is particularly important for reaching some of our most rural locations.
I recall in a surgery of mine last year a farmer was sadly in an incident while working in the fields, he was working alone and had no mobile signal to call in for help, it took a long time before help finally arrived. These new changes will prevent situations like that from arising again. There is no other scheme like this in any part of the world, once again the United Kingdom will be a leader in both boosting coverage and offering more choice for consumers and businesses.