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Councils have called for control over the fines given to mobile operators for poor coverage and customer service to boost connectivity.
The Local Government Authority (LGA) said Ofcom has fined operators millions of pounds over the past three years due to breaches of its rules, and that this money should be handed over to local areas to help access digital infrastructure.
Under government proposals, councils will be required to draft new policies setting out how they will deliver high quality digital infrastructure in their areas. The LGA said extra funding would enable them to trial new ways of working.
Mark Hawthorne, chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board, said: “If a new duty is imposed on planning authorities to set out how they will help deliver digital infrastructure it must be accompanied by funding to pilot new local models for facilitating the deployment of these networks. Rather than fines levied on mobile operators going straight to the Treasury, it would be far better for councils to be able to use the money to boost local efforts to ensure everyone has access to fast and reliable digital connectivity.”
By Graham Payne, CEO of Opencell, ensuring everyone indoors has network.
Your mobile phone rings at work, it’s an important call and you need to answer but when you pick up, the call drops. After a few failed call-back attempts, you realise you need to go outside to get a good connection. So off you go to return the call you can’t miss, in a way that wastes more of your time than necessary, out in the open (oh no!) it’s raining, and quite frankly you need to be getting on with that work left over from yesterday, and now the wind is making it hard to hear…