Network giant identifies rural areas of East Devon for 4G upgrade by summer 2024

Network giant EE has announced it will upgrade 4G in rural areas of East Devon by June 2024.

‘Partial not-spots’ around the village of Branscombe have been identified as among 35 rural locations across Devon to have 4G upgrades over the next 18 months.

Branscombe and nearby areas of East Devon are among 69 rural county-wide locations expected to receive the upgrade between now and June 2024, as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme agreed last year.

The network provider said:

  • EE will expand 4G in 69 locations across Devon by June 2024 to improve rural connectivity as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme
  • 34 locations in the county already upgraded by EE since the SRN deal was signed last year
  • A further 35 upgrades to follow as EE invests to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ by 2024.

It said the 35 rural locations that will get 4G upgrades between now and June 2024 are spread across Devon, including in areas around:

  • Lynton
  • Branscombe
  • Buckland
  • Great Torrington
  • Lyme Regis
  • South Brent
  • Tavistock

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: “We’ve made a renewed commitment to boost rural connectivity, helping improve mobile performance regardless of location.

“The investment BT has made in rural areas means we have the infrastructure in place to extend our 4G coverage footprint even further, minimising the number of new sites we need to build to ensure everyone has access to reliable connectivity.”

He added: “EE is still the only provider of 4G coverage in many places across the UK, and we encourage other operators to recognise the opportunity sharing our sites offers to fill gaps in their networks.”

The Shared Rural Network – an agreement between the UK’s four mobile network operators and UK Government – is aiming to extend 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK’s geography by 2025.

The upgrades announced are part of the first phase of the SRN programme, where EE will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ in mobile coverage.

The network has already upgraded its 4G network in 34 rural locations across Devon since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020. It pledged to extend 4G in a further 35 locations in the county, bringing the total to 69 in this phase of the programme.

All sites have been made available for other operators to share under the SRN scheme.

Julia Lopez, UK Government Digital Infrastructure Minister, said: “We know the incredible impact better connectivity will have on countryside communities. That’s why we struck a £1 billion deal, jointly funded by the government and mobile firms, to bring fast and reliable 4G mobile coverage to 95 per cent of the UK.

“EE’s plans show good progress and will increase choice for consumers and boost productivity in rural areas.

“We will continue to work closely with them to close down further gaps in rural mobile signal.”

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