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MP to press OFCOM over 4G universal broadband coverage

April 4, 2012 1:49 PM

 (Tim broadad photo1)Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, is due to meet with representatives of Ofcom to raise concerns over the upcoming 4G auction, which, under the current proposals for a new mobile broadband spectrum, could potentially leave at leave half a million people without coverage.

With service providers preparing to bid for 4G mobile broadband spectrum in the largest ever U.K auction of its kind, Ofcom has launched a second consultation on the auction of 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz after an initial proposal to guarantee only 95% coverage was criticised.

Ofcom's current proposals would require successful licences to provide at least 98% coverage or to match the extension of 2G coverage to 99%, yet countries such as Sweden have guaranteed universal coverage through clever structuring of their auctions.

Tim is asking Ofcom to make sure that telecommunications companies are forced to provide coverage for remote and rural areas if they successfully bid for the more lucrative contracts for urban areas.

Tim has previously raised this proposal and his concerns over the current proposals both to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee as well as to the Government through letters to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt and through a parliamentary motion. Now Tim intends to press his case with Ofcom to ensure that rural communities are not left out in the cold.

Commenting, Tim said: "I am looking forward to the opportunity to press Ofcom to improve their proposals ahead of the 4G auction to ensure that those in more isolated communities do not get left behind as the rest of the country gets access to quicker and improved broadband services.

"Our rural communities have the potential to play an even greater role in getting our economy back on track. High speed broadband will enable farmers and rural businesses to reach their full potential and contribute fully to our recovery, however if they are left behind this could impact negatively on these communities and the wider economy."