8:58am Monday 12th August 2013
MOBILE phone coverage and internet speeds are to be boosted in locations across the county, following the announcement of two separate developments.
The UK government it is to invest £150m in improving coverage through the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), which will extend coverage to areas currently without any.
The first sites are due to ‘go live’ by the end of this year with all works completed by 2015.
Pembrokeshire comes under phase three of the initiative, which will see the government fund Arquiva to build new masts.
Phone companies EE, Telefonica, Three and Vodafone will provide coverage and fund the operating costs for the 20-year lifespan of the project.
Work towards finding appropriate sites for masts and obtaining planning permission is expected to start in Pembrokeshire later this month.
Cabinet member for economy, tourism and communities Councillor David Pugh said: “I’m obviously absolutely delighted with any improvement to signal coverage in the area.
“There is certainly bad signal in certain areas of the county and any improvements will be a boost to businesses and residents alike.”
Cllr Pugh said the impact would depend on where the masts were erected.
“If you look at the tourism industry, the factor most people complain about is the lack of mobile reception.
“Whether they want to book a restaurant or keep in touch with friends and family, it features highly in the satisfaction surveys we do with people.
“Anything that overcomes this sort of problem has got to be a boost.”
In a separate development, Haverfordwest, Johnston, Milford Haven, Neyland and Pembroke look set to benefit from fibre optic based internet coverage, which will go live by the end of spring 2014.
The improvements will be made as part of the joint BT and the state-aided Superfast Cymru project, which aims to make broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps available to 96% of Welsh premises by the end of spring 2016.
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