Posted: Sat 18th May 2024

New project aims to tackle mobile ‘not-spots’ and boost 4G and broadband coverage for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Tackling mobile coverage ‘not spots’ for businesses is to be prioritised in the latest Growth Deal outline business case (OBC) to get approval from the North Wales Economic Ambition Board.

The 4G+ project aims to address connectivity challenges in North Wales to strengthen the area’s capability to develop future technologies and attract investment.

While industry investment in 4G and more recently 5G has grown in recent years, there remain significant gaps in coverage and network capacity to meet the demands of communities.

Locally there are regular complaints about ‘not spots’, with the likes of Plas Coch Retail Park, parts of the city centre and rural villages unable to get reliable mobile coverage.

Issues with connectivity are seen as a barrier to growth and can impact local businesses and deter residents from using certain areas.

The 4G+ project (Connected Key Sites and Corridors) aims to address this, by improving the quality of mobile connectivity at key commercial sites and transport networks.

Alongside improving mobile networks’ coverage, the project also aims to support the migration to 5G, deliver jobs and attract investment.

Mark Pritchard, Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council is Lead Member for Digital Connectivity on the North Wales Ambition Board. Welcoming the approval of the OBC for this project he said: “The impact of mobile connectivity on the economy is well established and shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Our city and town centres, business parks and communities all need good mobile connectivity, and that demand will continue to grow, as it is across the rest of the country.

“Approval of this penultimate stage before delivery is an important milestone.

“As well as supporting national and regional economic strategies, improving mobile connectivity and capacity has to be part of our efforts to increase local GVA and create jobs.”

The 4G+ (Connected Key Sites and Corridors) project forms part of the North Wales Growth Deal’s Digital Programme, which aims to improve the availability of mobile voice and data services as well as full fibre broadband to key commercial sites.

It is supported by the Full Fibre project, which aims bring competitive fibre connectivity to key sites, alongside investment by industry and UK government.

Business cases are developed for each project within the Growth Deal and each OBC covers the project planning phase and identifies options which deliver public value following detailed appraisals.

The decision means the project can now move to develop a full business case – the final phase in the process to secure Growth Deal funding before delivery.

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