Britain’s 4G coverage ranks just 54th in the world, sitting behind country’s including Albania, Panama and Peru.
That’s according to findings in a new report by the National Infrastructure Commission. The commission said that this didn’t simply represent frustration for consumers, but also that it is hampering businesses across the country too.
The commission’s chairman, former minister Andrew Adonis, said, “Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centres are plagued by not spots where connectivity is impossible.”
The commission found that smartphone and tablet users could not access 4G networks just half of the time. It said that networks in country’s such as the U.S. and Japan were putting British efforts to shame.
Adonis and his team have demanded the government appoint a cabinet level minister to handle Britain’s digital future, saying investment in next–generation 5G networks are a must. The 5G spectrum is due to be auctioned off by Ofcom in 2017.
4G’s launch was long delayed in the UK and is only now becoming universally available. The National Infrastructure Commission says that Ofcom and the government need to adopt universal service obligation rules by 2025, ensuring so–called ‘not spots’ especially on roads and railways, become a thing of the past.
It’s been proposed that Ofcom gains the power to fine networks that do not meet targets to eliminate not spots set out in 2014.