£130m ferry en route to region
A MOBILE action plan to improve the phone networks in Wales has been revealed – with potentially bigger masts and rates relief on the way.
The Welsh Government has published the plan to help create the right environment to encourage further investment in mobile infrastructure and to promote innovation in mobile technologies.
Although mobile connectivity is the responsibility of the UK Government, the Welsh Government is looking at the powers that could help enhance the service in Wales.
The plan sets out how the Welsh Government will work together with the mobile phone industry and the regulator to improve connectivity.
Sister paper The Daily Post has been pressing for improved phone services in their Better Mobile campaign.
These were the four main areas they will focus on: ● Planning – Research has been commissioned, due to be completed in the Autumn, to inform changes to permitted development rights for telecommunications equipment. Planning Policy Wales (PPW) will be refreshed to highlight the positive relationship between telecommunications and the economy. This is expected to allow larger masts in Wales to increase coverage. ● Non-domestic rates – Where evidence suggests that a reduction in non-domestic rates would encourage investment, the Welsh Government will consider providing non-domestic rates relief on appropriate mobile mast sites. ● Innovation and emerging technologies – The Welsh Government and mobile network operators will work together to identify opportunities to develop and test innovative technologies in Wales, including 5G. ● Major events and special projects – Build on work already done at the Royal Welsh Show, where collaborative working has resulted in a permanent mast at the showground. The Welsh Government will facilitate relationships between mobile network operators and major event organisers
There are particular challenges in boosting mobile connectivity in Wales. Data from Ofcom on television masts shows that, because of the country’s topography, Wales needs an average of 67 masts to reach one million people, while in England, to reach the same amount of people, 12 masts are required ● Julie James,
Minister for Skills and Sciminister for skills and ence Julie James said: science “Mobile phone connectivity is becoming increasingly important for both residents and businesses.
“We know there are challenges in Wales and that the service needs to be better.
“This plan outlines what we, as a Welsh Government, can do to help create the right environment to further improve connectivity in Wales.
“I have to be clear that we do not have the main levers as these rest with the UK Government and Ofcom, and it is important to emphasise there is not one single solution to boosting mobile connectivity.” Hamish MacLeod, director of Mobile UK, said: “Mobile UK is pleased to see the publication of the Welsh Government’s Mobile Action Plan, which rightly recognises the urgent need for reform and identifies barriers to effective deployment of mobile infrastructure.
“The Mobile Action Plan commits the Welsh Government to work with the mobile industry, Ofcom and others to deliver effective reform.
“The challenge now is to realise this ambition and implement the proposals promptly.” THIS £130m ferry will enter service next summer on the route between Holyhead and Dublin.
The vessel, which has been named W. B. Yeats after the Irish literary giant, is set to be delivered to Irish Ferries in July.
Weighing 55,000 tonnes, it will carry 1,885 passengers and crew, has 440 cabins including suites with balconies, and almost 3km of car deck space.
It will enter year-round service on the Dublin– Holyhead and Ireland– France routes, though the exact timetable has not yet been agreed.
Facilities will include a club class lounge, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinema, shops, bars and lounges, exclusive areas for freight drivers and facilities for pets.
The name was chosen after it had drawn strong support from the public in a competition that attracted nearly 100,000 entries from both sides of the Irish Sea.
The vessel will be delivered next summer