Why Rural Communities Need Better Mobile Internet Coverage
So you can imagine my excitement when, last summer, I received a letter with an “invitation” from my telephone company offering me an upgrade. They would be able to provide me with full “bandwidth” – the only issues were that they couldn’t provide any mobile phone signal and it would cost me £20,000. (Honestly!)
Of course, the real victims are not, in fact, the old women like me who live here, but the teenage girls. School buses don’t leave the tarmac, so if the way to your parents’ farm is three miles long (and some are much longer), you have a six-mile walk every day – and if you miss the bus school to go home, you have no way of contacting your adults, so there are practical problems with things as simple as spontaneously deciding to go to your mate’s for tea.
Farmers up my route mainly work with hill sheep. Recently someone flipped his quad and it got stuck underneath; he didn’t have a cell phone so couldn’t tell anyone where he was – it was a long, scary night for him, his family and his neighbours. He was lucky he was found and released unharmed, but farming is now one of the most dangerous forms of work in the UK: basic safety requires full mobile coverage.