National Parks England, which represents the ten English parks authorities, including the Lake District, the New Forest and the Yorkshire Dales, has signed an agreement with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three to allow for the rollout of 4G and improved mobile services in these areas.
This will of course require new infrastructure, but the networks have pledged that it will only require a small number of new masts and that they will be carefully designed to minimise the environmental impact.
Environmental concerns aside this is surely good news for anyone who lives or works in or even visits any of the national parks. In their nature they’re mostly very rural, cut off places, while mobile signal, let alone 4G connections, can be lacking or absent altogether and with limited transport links as well that can make it problematic to keep in touch with the outside world.
So this should help socially, as well as helping businesses, which are increasingly reliant on the internet and speedy communications. Visitors too could benefit, especially as the national parks attract hikers, climbers and the like, any of who could have an accident and find themselves in need of help. If that happens then a lack of signal could at a minimum be hugely inconveniencing and at worst runs the risk of being fatal, so more widespread mobile networks and 4G connections will be a good thing.
At its core though it’s a move which simply allows people in these places to consistently and reliably enjoy the modern conveniences that so many of us take for granted.
Jim Bailey, Chair of National Parks England and the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: "National Parks have always been about finding pragmatic long term solutions to the many competing demands on land. Ensuring modern telecommunications infrastructure is no different. Today's agreement will be good for the thousands of businesses and people living in our National Parks, for the millions who visit them, and for the stunning landscapes and towns that are the lifeblood for our rural economies."