News

Moon to get 4G before parts of Wales as rural communities are swallowed by services ‘black hole’

28 Feb 2018 2 minutes Read
4G or not 4G? The moon could have a better cellular network than rural Ceredigion (Picture by Vodafone)

 

The lifeless surface of the moon is likely to have 4G before many parts of rural Wales, according to an MP.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake pointed to plans to install a 4G connection on the lunar surface, saying: “So the moon is going to have 4G wireless access before a large proportion of rural Wales.

“You couldn’t make it up.”

Yesterday he warned that rural communities risked being left in a “black hole” as services close.

Research published by Which? last year showed that Wales has the least access to 4G networks in the UK. It found that on average, 4G customers in Wales could get a 4G signal just 35.4% of the time.

This week Vodafone and Nokia announced plans to set up up the first 4G network on the Moon to provide communications support for an unmanned rover mission scheduled to launch in 2019.

This would allow the rover to send back high-definition digital video rather than the poor quality images provided by the analog radio link used by Apollo 17.

Rural

Yesterday Ben Lake he introduced a Bill in Parliament looking to ensure customers aren’t left without basic financial services by bank closures and poor broadband connections.

The measures in the Bill were aimed at:

  • Making it more difficult for banks to close – banks would have to consider transport time to their next nearest branch
  • Create ‘Local Banking Hubs’ – more than one bank could share premises and some administrative functions
  • Enhance financial services offered by Post Offices – many branches lack the basic infrastructure, funding, and training to carry out banking services.

“In rural areas, people are being forced to travel tens-of-miles to the nearest bank,” Ben Lake said.

“And with underinvestment in broadband infrastructure, online banking is not an option. These communities are being left in a banking black hole.”

12 Comments
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Simon G F
3 years ago

Regarding 4G mobile service, where I live (Pontycymer) we have very poor mobile signals. Too poor for clear conversations. Sometimes text messages fail to send. Am I complaining? No. It’s this lack of modern cosmopolitan facilities that helps safeguard us from being overrun by incomers looking to snap up (relatively) cheap housing. From what I gather, Ben Lake’s patch, Ceredigion, is already lost to suffocating waves of immigration from across Offa’s Dyke. (Non-wireless Internet access is fine though, as it is all over Wales, or so I believe.) With regards to banks and financial services, Wales needs its own bank,… Read more »

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon G F

I live in the countryside and don’t want it to be like the city. I have terrible phone reception at home, and that’s just the way I like it. We have a landline and that works just fine. We have terrible small roads too, but I don’t want them widened or made better either.

Politicians have been fixated on broadband and mobile phone signal for years now, as though providing them will fix all of our problems. System change is what we need, not fiddling at the edges.

owain
owain
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

Absolutely, let’s not ruin rural Wales with mobile phone signals. It is so nice to be able to escape somewhere. I have no mobile reception at home and want it to stay that way. Ben Lake take note!

Simon GF: your comment on Ceredigion being lost to “suffocating waves of immigration” is both laughable and disgraceful.

MawKernewek
3 years ago
Reply to  owain

I have one of those old-fashioned mobile phones that have this thing on the side called an “off-button”. I think the new ones still have them, is that right or does the latest iPhone not have it like they got rid of the headphone socket?

I would be wary of relying on the Post Office there are fewer and fewer of these every year.

Matthew Davies
Matthew Davies
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon G F

The inverse of this, though, is that the lack of these kinds of services could actually drive some young people, who see them as a necessity, out of the area. This is already a major problem

Ifan Jones
Ifan Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Davies

Quite. People want to work in Ceredigion too. If you want to stop ‘suffocating waves of immigration’ (do I as a migrant from Gwynedd count?) give the people who work here a reason to stay. We’re a service-based economy and the lack of 4G and broadband is a real hindrance to the economic development of this part of Wales.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
3 years ago
Reply to  Ifan Jones

You’re from Gwynedd. You are therefore presumably not an English settler (although you may have been blown into Gwynedd from the other side of Offa’s Dyke. So your question cannot be answered).

JR Humphreys
JR Humphreys
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon G F

Keep it up, Simon.

Capitalist and Welshnash
Capitalist and Welshnash
3 years ago

Set up a Welsh company and provide 4G yourself.

It is no one’s responsibility but our own.

Clive King
Clive King
3 years ago

I do oncall, so mobile reception it vital. If you want jobs that have global reach in the private sector and the benefits of such for the region (i.e. good jobs), you need mobile coverage. Suspect many NHS staff have a similar requirement. Young people move if they don’t have mobile coverage. Disappointed at some of the comments above regarding no mobile coverage being positive, but I still love you all 🙂 Credit to Ben for raising this issue, again. Poor mobile coverage is caused by a jigsaw of reasons. One fragment of the jigsaw is controlled locally by Ceredigion… Read more »

Annelie
Annelie
3 years ago

The priority for Wales should be universal fast fibre broadband, not 4G. Wireless 4G means even more masts and increased levels of radio-frequency pollution in Wales. In accordance with the Well-Being of Future Generations Act, we need to be much wiser about using wireless. The website http://www.wiserwirelesswales.org has more information on this issue.

Michael
Michael
3 years ago

With the deployment of Voice Over 4G networks being built by the four Mobile Network Operators coverage should be much more widespread in the coming years due to the lower frequency band it uses. It is vital for many reasons that small communities have coverage. There needs to be less resentment to cell sites being deployed. Local businesses are suffering, if one likes to not have their phone ring at home then just switch it off. I believe the Operators are doing the best they can but don’t need locals kicking up a fuss to a mast being built. I… Read more »

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