The latest news and media updates on the Shared Rural Network can be found below. Please check back regularly for new announcements and information.
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26 February 2024: The below is a guest article by Gareth Elliott, Director of Policy and Communications at Mobile UK Forget bustling cities and crowded towns. Imagine vast landscapes, untouched by human hands, where nature reigns supreme. In this scenario, you might not think about mobile connectivity, or perhaps might not want it, but connectivity […]
22 February 2024: The Shared Rural Network has already delivered substantial improvements to mobile coverage across the UK. Since the programme was agreed in 2020, parts of the country totalling over 2000 square miles – equivalent in size to the counties of Cheshire and Lancashire combined – that were previously without 4G are now covered […]
22 February 2024: Building Digital UK (BDUK) has today published a report detailing the benefits the Shared Rural Network will deliver in the most rural parts of Scotland. In her foreword, Julia Lopez, Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure comments: “Without this investment people and businesses will miss out on the major benefits that come […]
22 February 2024: The National Audit Office (NAO) has today published a report titled Supporting mobile connectivity. which examines whether DSIT is on track to deliver UK-wide reliable mobile connectivity that meets the country’s needs now and in the future. In response to the report, a DSIT spokesperson said: “This is premature. The programme remains […]
20 February 2024: Mobile coverage in rural parts of North Yorkshire has been significantly improved after EE revealed today it has upgraded or built more than 40 masts in the county in the last two years as part of the Shared Rural Network. Five masts have been upgraded in recent months to bring enhanced 4G mobile […]
14 February 2024: Just before Christmas 2023, a team of Vodafone Engineers and Network Specialists (and one plucky cameraman) donned their thermals and hiking boots to visit potential future mast sites located across western Scotland. Read all about their visit here
13 February 2024: Virgin Media O2 has hit a major milestone in the Shared Rural Network programme after upgrading or building 100 company-managed sites, providing residents, businesses and visitors in rural communities with faster and more reliable mobile coverage than ever before. Read the full press release here
9 February 2024: Initial plans developed in 2021 suggested that approximately 300 new sites would be needed to deliver coverage improvements in Scotland as part of the Shared Rural Network’s Total Not Spot programme, which will tackle areas where there is currently no 4G coverage from any operator. Since then, survey teams from all four operators and […]
24 January 2024: Beatrice Wishart, the MSP for Shetland, has welcomed Virgin Media O2’s investment to transform mobile connectivity on the Shetland Islands. During a visit to one of the company’s new 4G phone masts in Walls, which will deliver a much-needed boost to mobile signal for communities in rural Shetland, the MSP was updated […]
22 January 2024: A new briefing paper has been published on the House of Commons Library, looking at mobile coverage in the UK with a focus on rural 4G mobile coverage. It covers government targets and policies to tackle partial not-spots and total not-spots, such as the Shared Rural Network. Read the paper here.
16 January 2024: EE has today announced it has completed its widespread 4G coverage upgrades under the first phase of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) ₁ six months ahead of schedule. Read the full story here.
19 December 2023: Ofcom has today published its annual Connected Nations UK Report, along with individual Nations Reports, in which they measure progress in the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK. Read the full report here
26 October 2023: EE has significantly expanded the reach of its 4G network by upgrading 139 locations across Northern Ireland as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), a £1 billion initiative to extend 4G mobile connectivity to rural communities across the UK that need it most. Read the full press release here
4 October 2023: Virgin Media O2 has used a helicopter to deliver new 4G masts to the remote island of Islay, which has been welcomed by Jenni Minto, the MSP for Argyll and Bute, and Councillor Liz McCabe during a visit to the site. Read the full press release here
19 September 2023: As part of the Shared Rural Network, EE has upgraded two masts in the Lake District. One of the upgraded masts is located between Coniston Water and Windermere, bringing coverage to locations including Hay Bridge Nature Reserve, Rusland and parts of Grizedale Forest. The other is to the southeast of Windermere Lake, […]
7 September 2023: Ofcom has today published their Connected Nations Summer Update 2023. In the report there is mention of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) continuing to bring mobile coverage to rural communities across the country, with 4G coverage now extending to 93% of UK landmass, up from 91% when the SRN agreement was signed in […]
7 August 2023: Three UK has completed the construction of 100 sites as part of the UK’s Shared Rural Network (SRN). The sites across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will provide new 4G connectivity to over 37,000 premises, with coverage spanning 2,800 square kilometres. Read the press release here.
3 August 2023: Vodafone customers in and around the Scottish rural communities of Ae and Loch Head in Dumfries and Galloway are now receiving stronger 4G coverage so residents, businesses and visitors are now enjoying faster and more reliable data speeds as well as better quality voice calls. Read the press release here
2 August 2023: Improved rural connectivity could boost the UK economy by £65.1 billion, new economic modelling from the Cebr for Virgin Media O2 has found. The report, titled ‘The Great Rural Revival’, addresses four sectors central to the UK’s rural economy – tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and small businesses – and finds connectivity improvements could […]
28 June 2023: The Shared Rural Network (SRN) team were at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh last week, the biggest event of its kind in Scotland, showcasing the best of farming, food and rural life. Taking a stand within the UK Government’s marquee, which included other programmes and projects invested in by the Government, […]
9 June 2023: Jamie Stone, the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, welcomed Virgin Media O2’s investment in the Highlands and Islands during a visit to a phone mast in Ardross which will be upgraded to 4G later this year. As part of its commitment to the £1bn Shared Rural Network programme, Virgin Media […]
19 May 2023: Ofcom’s Spring Connected Nations report has found that Wales has benefited by a percentage point drop in geographic notspots since the December report, which the regulator has attributed to the Shared Rural Network. Read the full report.
15 May 2023: UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord has written an article for The Scottish Farmer, outlining key areas for growth in Scotland, referencing the importance of the Shared Rural Network in strengthening digital connectivity. Read the article on The Scottish Farmer website here
15 May 2023: Virgin Media O2 has delivered 4G connectivity across 50 sites as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme, providing residents, businesses and visitors in rural communities with faster and more reliable mobile coverage than ever before. Read more here on the VMO2 website
3 May 2023: People living and working in the Lockerbie area in Scotland are to benefit from significantly improved mobile phone connectivity as the first UK government-funded rural mast upgrade is completed, BDUK has announced. Read more on gov.uk
19 April 2023: EE has expanded its mobile network to deliver fast and reliable 4G connectivity to a further 1,500 remote countryside communities across the UK, including Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. The upgrades have been delivered as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) ₁, a £1 billion joint initiative between mobile network […]
9 March 2023: Vodafone and the Shared Rural Network are bringing 4G mobile signal to dozens of places across the UK countryside. Vodafone customers living, working or visiting 57 rural communities and locations across the UK are now receiving 4G as part of Vodafone’s ongoing commitment to the nationwide Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme. Read […]
16 February 2022: Traquair in Peeblesshire and Balmacara in Ross-shire have benefited from a partnership between Vodafone, Virgin Media O2, the Shared Rural Network and the Scottish Government. Read the full article on the Mobile UK website here
10 February 2023: EE has announced new details of its nationwide investment to connect the UK to 5G, with the technology reaching hundreds of rural communities across the UK for the first time. Read the full article on the EE newsroom
9 February 2023: An article published in the Borders Telegraph today talks about how communities in the Borders are set to benefit from improved mobile coverage thanks to upgrades through the Shared Rural Network (SRN). Read the article here
19 December 2022: EE has built or upgraded over 500 4G sites across the UK since December 2021, as part of the Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative to extend coverage in rural areas across the UK. The investment constitutes the latest expansion of EE’s 4G coverage across remote parts of the UK. In total, EE […]
15 December 2022: Today Ofcom published their annual Connected Nations Report. An update on the privately funded PNS coverage improvements delivered as part of the Shared Rural Network is discussed on page 34, along with an update covering progress on the publicly funded elements of the programme. Read the report here.
13 December 2022: Three has put the first spade in the ground on the first joint site in the UK’s Shared Rural Network (SRN), which will transform connectivity for residents and businesses on the Isle of Mull. This is one of 66 sites across Argyll and Bute that will deliver 4G connectivity as part of […]
12 October 2022: To deliver new 4G coverage we need to build new infrastructure in some incredibly challenging and difficult to reach places. The programme will see a significant number of new masts built in some of the country’s most rural and remote locations – locations that would not normally be considered as part of […]
11 October 2022: The recently published 2022 Ofcom Connected Nations Autumn Update recognises there has not been a significant increase in coverage since their last update, but they expect the Shared Rural Network, to drive forward coverage improvements over the coming years. Read the update report here.
18 August 2022: Virgin Media O2 has shared details of new network initiatives and major upgrades across Scotland, investing hundreds of millions as part of their ongoing plans to improve connectivity across the country. As well as increasing 4G and 5G coverage throughout Scottish towns and cities, they have made significant steps to provide new […]
20 July 2022: New Programme Director Bryn Jones took to the stage yesterday at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show to discuss the Shared Rural Network (SRN) and how the programme will help deliver increased mobile coverage to rural communities across Wales. The event, hosted by Ofcom in partnership with the Farmers’ Union of Wales, looked […]
8 July 2022: The Contract Award Notice for the Managed Solution (MS) Framework and the Contract Award Notice for the Acquisition, Design and Build (ADB) Framework were published this week. The MS framework has appointed a single supplier to provide a managed solution to deliver mobile telecoms base station site services along with the operation […]
27 June 2022, London: Digital Mobile Spectrum Ltd (DMSL) has appointed Bryn Jones as its new Shared Rural Network (SRN) Director. Bryn joins on 4 July 2022 to lead the DMSL team in delivering the publicly funded element of the programme. The Shared Rural Network will deliver 4G coverage to at least 95% of the […]
16 June 2022: The two initial procurement frameworks for the Shared Rural Network are now complete, and suppliers have been appointed. The Acquisition, Design and Build (ADB) and Managed Solution (MS) frameworks were published in 2021 by DMSL on behalf of the Mobile Network Operators (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone). The ADB framework is designed to […]
27 May 2022: The Contract Notice for the SRN Transmission Framework has today been published. This follows the publication of the Acquisition, Design and Build (ADB) Framework in November 2021 and the publication of the Managed Solution (MS) Framework in December 2021. The Transmission framework will appoint a supplier to deliver the provision of IP-VPN […]
8 April 2022: The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing which looks at mobile coverage in the UK with a focus on rural 4G mobile coverage. It covers Government commitments on mobile coverage and measures to improve coverage such as the Shared Rural Network. Read the full paper on the House of […]
10 February 2022: Plans have been submitted for a new mast in Catlowdy, Cumbria to help improve 4G coverage in the area. The mast will provide coverage from O2, Three and Vodafone as part of the Shared Rural Network, which will help deliver coverage to rural communities across the country. You can read about the […]
3 February 2022: The UK Government has published their flagship Levelling Up White Paper, which sets out their plan to transform the UK through a complete ‘system change’ of how government works. The paper discusses the Shared Rural Network alongside Project Gigabit as part of their work to enhance digital connectivity across the UK. You […]
14 January 2022: The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing which explains the rules and permissions needed to build broadband and mobile infrastructure and discusses proposals for reforms intended to make building infrastructure easier. The paper looks at how telecoms networks are built and the challenges encountered, including planning issues, access agreements, […]
22 December 2021: The Contract Notice for the Managed Solution (MS) Framework has today been published. This follows the publication of the Acquisition, Design and Build (ADB) Framework in November. The MS framework will appoint suppliers to provide a managed solution to deliver mobile telecoms base station site services along with the operation and maintenance […]
16 December 2021: The 2021 Ofcom Connected Nations report, published today, demonstrates increased coverage across each of the UK Nations by the MNOs, including 46 deployments towards their Shared Rural Network commitments. Read the full report.
15 December 2021: EE will upgrade 4G in more than 2,000 areas by June 2024 as part of the Shared Rural Network initiative to extend coverage in rural areas across the UK. EE has upgraded its 4G network in more than 800 areas across the UK since the SRN deal was signed in March 2020. Today, […]
1 December 2021: Virgin Media O2 has announced it is rolling out new Shared Rural network sites in areas such as South Knapdale, Elvingston, Hamnavoe and the Isle of Harris. This is part of a wider announcement that 1.2 million homes and more than 2.8 million people across Scotland now have access to gigabit speeds […]
29 November 2021: The Contract Notice for the Acquisition, Design and Build (ADB) Framework has today been published, marking an important milestone in the publicly funded element of the programme. The ADB framework is designed to appoint suppliers to provide all of the services of Acquisition, Design and Build services for telecoms mast base station sites. […]
29 September 2021: Finding suitable sites, securing planning permission, and building mobile phone masts is more of a tricky and time-consuming business than you may have realised. This Vodafone Q&A explains why.
13 August 2021: The Shared Rural Network recently took another step forward by undertaking Carrier Wave Testing in the Fort William area. Technical consultants, Plum Consulting, headed to the Scottish Highlands to undertake a week’s worth of testing that will help engineers further develop radio plans for the programme. A temporary mast and a roaming […]
29 June 2021: People in rural Scotland, Wales and the North East of England will enjoy huge improvements in their mobile coverage thanks to the UK government’s world-first £1 billion mobile connectivity programme. This scheme is a major part of the government’s plan to level up all parts of the UK and will bring economic […]
26 May 2021: Real Wireless, the world’s leading independent wireless experts, today announced its appointment as Independent Assessor of the UK’s Shared Rural Network initiative by the Government’s Department of Digital, Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS). Real Wireless will act as the independent assessor for the TNS (Total Not Spots) aspects of the SRN rollout. […]
11 March 2021: Today the government is a step closer to delivering better mobile coverage in rural areas, as it publishes its transparency notice for the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme and can proceed with a £500 million investment to provide all corners of the UK with better mobile connectivity. Read the full DCMS press release […]
10 March 2021: Representatives of the UK’s mobile operators, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, have today signed a key agreement in the development of the Shared Rural Network. The contract sets out how the four organisations will work together to build new sites that will deliver mobile broadband in areas where there is no existing […]
24 February 2021: EE will upgrade 4G in more than 500 areas in 2021 as part of the Shared Rural Network initiative to extend coverage in rural areas across the UK. The upgrades announced today fall under the first phase of the Shared Rural Network, where EE will invest to significantly reduce ‘partial not-spots’ by […]
10 February 2021: O2 have shared details of how the first phase of the Shared Rural Network will boost rural businesses and communities. Read more on O2 News
27 January 2021: The Government has launched a consultation looking at the Electronics Communication Code and whether changes are needed to support digital coverage and connectivity. Read more on the Government’s website
27 Jan 2021: Three of the UK’s mobile network operators – O2, Three and Vodafone – have shared details of a partnership, which will see new masts built and upgraded to deliver increased coverage under the Shared Rural Network. Read more on Vodafone UK News Centre
12 November 2020: Speed Up Britain has announced further industry support for their campaign in efforts to secure reform to the Electronics Communications code. Read more on the Speed Up Britain website.
23 July 2020: Vodafone has extended their mobile coverage in the Peak District through a mast sharing deal with O2 under the new Shared Rural Network. Read more on Vodafone UK News Centre
21 July 2020: An organisation named Speed Up Britain has been set up to help campaign for better mobile connectivity in every part of the UK. Read more on the Speed Up Britain website
17 June 2020: Vodafone expands their coverage with first site sharing deal in the UK under the Shared Rural Network. Devauden, a small village in Wales, is the first rural community to benefit from the programme. Read more on Vodafone UK News Centre
21 April 2020: The Shared Rural Network is a priority for the Government and Industry. We are working to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the programme. All parties remain committed to the successful delivery of the Shared Rural Network, which will transform mobile coverage, countrywide.
9 March 2020: Ofcom has welcomed an agreement between the Government and the UK’s four mobile network operators to deliver the Shared Rural Network improving mobile coverage across the country. Read more on Ofcom’s website
9 March 2020: Preseli MP Stephen Crabb has welcomed a deal between the UK Government and the country’s four largest mobile phone operators to increase rural coverage. Read more on Stephen Crabb’s website
9 March 2020: The FSB has today responded to news that the UK Government will work in partnership with the four mobile network operators to deliver significant improvements to mobile coverage across the UK. Read more on the FSB website
9 March 2020: Ministers and bosses from mobile network operators will meet this afternoon to sign a £1 billion deal to make poor and patchy rural phone coverage a thing of the past. The world-first deal will be a huge boost for people across the country in rural areas and will deliver strong 4G coverage irrespective […]
The Shared Rural Network, developed by the UK’s four mobile network operators and Government, will deliver 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025, enabling rural businesses and communities to thrive.
Through shared and new infrastructure, the Shared Rural Network will increase the parts of the UK that get 4G coverage from all operators from 66% to 84%, improving consumer choice.
The mobile operators expect the Shared Rural Network will extend mobile coverage to an additional 280,000 premises and for people in cars on an additional 16,000km of the UK’s roads, boosting productivity and investment in rural areas.