Tenders are being invited to improve mobile phone coverage in half a dozen locations in North Yorkshire that currently have no 4G coverage.
Operators are being invited to bid to erect masts at sites in Healey, west of Masham; North Coverdale; Appletreewick; Kildale; Mickley and West Tanfield; and the A1041 south of Selby.
The locations were identified in a survey commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council to gauge the level of coverage across the county. The work will be funded through a £1m grant secured by the County Council from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership to improve mobile phone coverage in the county.
The tender opportunity follows agreement last month by the Leaders Group North Yorkshire and York, which brings together local authority leaders, that business rate relief would be applied to new rural mobile masts in the county. Relief would apply only to masts erected in places with no coverage or coverage below the minimum level set by industry regulator Ofcom. The relief would be in place for seven years up to a maximum of £6,000 a year and the operator would be expected to maintain the mast after the relief ended. Each of the county’s district councils will make its own decision on this rate relief proposal.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “We have established a good working relationship with mobile phone operators to understand their infrastructure plans and how we can support those plans. We have been commended nationally on our forward-thinking approach. We are confident that operators will respond to our tender, given our earlier discussions and the business rate relief these masts will attract.
“North Yorkshire is the first county in England to offer business rate relief for mobile infrastructure. We’ve taken this step because of the importance of strong mobile coverage to the lives of our residents and to the economic wellbeing of the county.”