5G? Let’s get 4G right first says CLA director

Securing a decent mobile phone signal is still a problem  in many areas of rural Lincolnshire says the CLA
Securing a decent mobile phone signal is still a problem in many areas of rural Lincolnshire says the CLA

The Government has been urged to forget about talk of 5G and ensure huge swathes of the Lincolnshire Wolds have adequate 4G coverage.

That is the plea from a leading official at the Country Landowners’ Association (CLA).

Ben Underwood, director of the CLA in the East of England, says poor mobile phone coverage and internet access continues to hold back the area’s economic growth.

Mr Underwood said: “Rural areas in the East of England cannot reach their full economic potential without fast, reliable broadband and mobile phone coverage.

“Even as we enter 2019, some rural businesses are forced to accept poor speeds and coverage and 4G access varies wildly across our region.

“Government talk of 5G rollout seems ludicrous when vast areas are still struggling with 4G.

“It is important to walk before running, so the focus must remain on establishing universal 4G before upgrading areas to 5G.”

CLA East represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across all eastern counties including Lincolnshire.

As he looked forward to the next 12 months, Mr Underwood stressed Brexit, rural crime and housing were other key issues, alongside poor digital connectivity.

Mr Undwrwood added: “All eyes will be on Brexit in 2019, and we are working hard to stand up for the rural economy during this crucial period.

“From funding to labour supply, businesses in our region need certainty and assurances to operate and plan for the future.

“They cannot do this with the current political cloud of confusion and we will be speaking up for our sector and seeking clarity in the next 12 months.

“The bedrock of success for Brexit must include a profitable and thriving farming and food industry.”