FUW AND OFCOM HOST MOBILE 'NOTSPOTS' TALKS AT ROYAL WELSH SHOW.
Plans for helping solve Wales' mobile broadband "notspots" were outlined during the Royal Welsh Show today when the Farmers' Union of Wales and Ofcom held wide-ranging talks with farmers and representatives from the communications industry.
The theme of the meeting was "Connecting Rural Wales - 4G Mobile Broadband and the Mobile Infrastructure Project" and the Llanelwedd venue was an ideal place to discuss mobile coverage issues in Wales, said FUW president Emyr Jones.
"We are pleased to work in collaboration with Ofcom to show how the rollout of 4G services and the UK Government’s Mobile Infrastructure Project will bring significant benefits to consumers and businesses in rural areas of Wales.”
Demand for mobile data in Western Europe - estimated to increase by more than 500 per cent over the next five years - is being fuelled by smartphones and mobile broadband data services such as video streaming, email, messenger services, online mapping and social networking.
As the UK switches from analogue to digital TV, new spectrum capacity has become available to meet this demand.
Ofcom’s Wales director Elinor Williams said: “Our recent announcement on the combined spectrum auction will bring significant benefits to citizens and consumers in rural Wales.
“The auction is a crucial step in preparing for 4G mobile services and it is of significant importance to the Welsh economy.
“It will support a wide range of data services rapidly becoming essential features of modern life in rural Wales.”
Ofcom hopes 98% of the UK will have 4G coverage by 2017.
The meeting’s facilitator, FUW director of agricultural policy Nick Fenwick, said the introduction of 4G would be hugely beneficial to farmers.
Mr Fenwick - who grew up on a hill farm in Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth, with poor mobile coverage - added: "The farming industry, in increasing numbers, is reliant on smart phone technology such as apps.
"It's second nature for the up-and-coming younger generation to use their phones in innovative ways.”
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