Three UK hits Shared Rural Network milestone


The operator has deployed 100 new 4G sites across the UK, helping deliver much needed connectivity to some of the country’s most remote locations

Today, Three UK has announced its latest achievement as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), having now deployed 100 4G sites to some of the hardest-to-reach areas in the country.

The new sites, 65 of which are in Scotland, provide additional mobile coverage of across roughly 2,800km2, as well as bringing 4G connectivity to over 37,000 premises.

“With mobile connectivity becoming increasingly critical to everyday life, it is vital that we provide a network capable of supporting local economies and communities in every part of the UK,” said Iain Milligan, CNO of Three UK. “The 100th site in Three’s SRN network is another significant milestone and will transform rural access to 4G. We continue to deliver on our commitments, but the locations we are focusing on are remote and challenging, and we continue to work with local authorities to try and progress as best as possible.”

The £1 billion SRN is a joint project between the UK’s four mobile operators and the national government, aiming to help expand to expand the geographic coverage of 4G to 95% of UK by the end of 2025. This involves upgrading existing infrastructure as well as the deployment of new equipment, all of which will ultimately be shared between all four operators.

The SRN is backed by £500 million of public funding, with a further £500 million provided by the mobile players.

Since its launch in 2020, progress on the SRN has been fairly modest, due largely to the copious amount of research and planning that must go into deploying new mobile sites in remote areas. Nonetheless, in recent months all four of the UK’s operators have provided related rollout updates, perhaps indicating that the programme is now beginning to pick up steam.

Earlier this month, Vodafone announced the activation of two new sites in Dumfries and Galloway, bringing their total to 49 sites deployed. Virgin Media O2 reportedly has a similar of new sites operational, with 50 sites built or upgraded as part of the SRN as of May this year.

EE, meanwhile, is playing its part in the SRN largely by upgrading its existing sites in selected areas. Earlier this year, the operator said it had upgraded relevant 1,500 sites across the UK, delivering 4G coverage to over 2,000 square miles.

Is the UK on track to meet its lofty coverage goals? Join the operators in discussion at the UK’s largest digital economy event, Connected Britain

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