O2 Gives ‘Disconnected’ Welsh Village Full Mobile Coverage For The First Time

A remote Welsh village can now receive mobile data services for the first time, two years after it was cut off entirely from the UK communications network.

Staylittle in Powys has just 150 residents but a thunderstorm in 2015 left the community without landline services for nearly two weeks. The nearest neighbouring village is eight miles away and the sole working landline was located in the local Post Office.

The incident exaggerated concerns that Staylittle was becoming increasingly isolated, with no mobile phone network covering the area either. In response O2 set up a temporary 2G mast in the village and has worked to deliver 4G ever since.

O2 Wales

Although the fixed connection has since been restored, the arrival of 4G will allow residents to benefit from a wealth of entertainment applications, government services and business opportunities and also provide a lifeline should the landline ever go down again.

“Ever since we heard Staylittle’s story in 2015, we’ve worked tirelessly to get its residents to this point – where they can make calls and access the internet and social media on the move just like most of the country,” said Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at O2.

“Seeing what a difference being connected is already making to families and businesses in Staylittle has made this a memorable achievement, and one we are working hard to emulate this in other rural villages across Wales.”

O2 has committed to deliver 4G to another 400 villages in Wales as part of an ongoing network investment plan that will see it invest £80 million in London.

“It’s a huge, positive change for the village – a change that is guaranteed to improve the lives of those living in Staylittle, who can now go online with confidence, and connect with friends, family and colleagues through their mobile,” added Russell George, Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire and Chair of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee.

Rival EE has just announced plans to extend geographical coverage in Wales to 90 percent, up from 40 percent, and has built the UK’s most powerful mobile mast in Cardiff.

Quiz: What do you know about 4G?

Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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