A deal has been inked that will mean England's National Parks are set to benefit from better mobile coverage, with any environmental impact theoretically minimised.
National Parks England and the Mobile Operators Association (which represents all the big UK operators – EE, O2, Vodafone and Three) called the deal a landmark agreement, and it has support from the government, being launched by various Ministers including the Communications Minister and Environment Minister.
The two bodies are set to work closely together to bring "high quality connectivity" to communities living in National Parks (which cover almost 10 per cent of England), while also preserving the integrity of these sensitive areas and minimising any impact to the surrounding environment.
IT Pro notes that this will mean mast sharing between mobile operators, and any new masts that have to be erected will be designed to blend in with their location as seamlessly as possible.
Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: "Our National Parks are areas of incredible beauty but they are also places where people live and work. They need access to the modern communications that many of us have taken for granted for years. The new agreement could make a real difference to those who live, work or visit our glorious National Parks."
Exmoor's National Park Officer, Dr Nigel Stone, further commented: "National Park Authorities have developed good working relationships with the installers of mobile phone networks where close working has enabled areas to receive good coverage without detriment to some of England's most sensitive landscapes."
He added: "Increasingly, the cost of deployment and operation of new mobile phone masts has been the most significant barrier to wider coverage as we have worked together to enable careful siting and design of new installations. We welcome interest from mobile operators in extending their networks to the benefit of local communities and visitors to National Parks."