Northern Ireland’s Department for Economy has set out a series of actions to boost mobile network coverage of the region.
It has published a Mobile Action Plan that includes supporting local authorities in producing a best practice guide on mobile network development, and calling on them to ensure that local development plans take account of the changing nature of mobile telecoms solutions.
The plan also includes engagement with the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and mobile network operators on the use of publicly owned assets as infrastructure, and consideration of setting up a taskforce to address the barriers to spreading connectivity.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “Although telecommunications policy is not devolved to Northern Ireland it is essential we recognise the importance of mobile connectivity and work to create the right environment to encourage further investment in mobile infrastructure and promote innovation in mobile technologies.
“One of the main barriers to mobile roll out is concerns from the public in regards new mobile technologies. A key recommendation from the plan is for the Department to investigate this issue and provide better information to decision makers, the public and businesses which may help to allay any fears.
“My department will therefore be taking forward the development of a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy to help people better understand new mobile technologies and the advantages, opportunities it brings and the benefits to our economy.”
The plan was developed by a cross-sector working group led by the department. Telecommunications policy is not devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive, but the department said it wants to create the environment to encourage relevant investments.