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22 April 2024 - Supporting mobile connectivity - Oral evidence

Committee Public Accounts Committee
Inquiry Supporting mobile connectivity

Monday 22 April 2024

Start times: 3:00pm (private) 3:30pm (public)

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Progress on UK-wide reliable mobile connectivity plans scrutinised by Public Accounts Committee

The Public Accounts Committee holds an evidence session on mobile connectivity in the UK with senior officials from the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) and its agency, Building Digital UK, at 4pm on Monday 22 April.

Meeting details

At 3:30pm: Oral evidence
Inquiry Supporting mobile connectivity
Permanent Secretary at Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Director General for Digital, Technology and Telecoms at Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Chief Executive at Building Digital UK

The session will explore progress on challenging ambitions set by Government to deliver UK-wide reliable mobile connectivity. Its plans for 5G coverage are reliant on private sector investment, action from multiple departments and bodies, and learning lessons from the past. The session will also look at the current picture for DSIT’s connectivity improvement programme, the Shared Rural Network (SRN).

DSIT launched the SRN in March 2020, which has led to 4G mobile coverage increasing from 91.4% in 2020 to 92.7% in 2023, against a target of 95% by 2025. The National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the SRN is behind schedule, with three out of the UK’s four network operators admitting they may not be able to deliver the coverage required within current grant funding. The NAO further found that government is not currently monitoring progress effectively, and does not have the information to understand what the programme is costing.

In 2021, the Committee’s report on Improving Broadband warned that digital inequality was compounding the economic inequality exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee concluded that government’s pledge to deliver nationwide gigabit broadband coverage was unachievable, and that the hardest-to-reach premises may struggle with fixed broadband for years to come.


The Grimond Room, Portcullis House

How to attend