ESN in Parliament

Last week the Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd Liz Saville-Roberts asked five PQs to the Home Office on ESN and the Extended Area Service (EAS):

  • To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service masts have been successfully erected in (a) Dwyfor Meirionnydd, (b) Arfon, © Ceredigion and (d) Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service masts are scheduled to be erected in (a) Dwyfor Meirionnydd, (b) Arfon, © Ceredigion and (d) Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much money in cash terms has the installation of Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service masts cost in (a) Dwyfor Meirionnydd, (b) Arfon, © Ceredigion and (d) Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.
  • To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many of the Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service masts in (a) Dwyfor Meirionnydd, (b) Arfon, © Ceredigion and (d) Carmarthen East and Dinefwr can be used by multiple operators (excluding EE).
  • To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of allowing roaming in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks using the Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service masts.

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) is being provided primarily to deliver world class critical voice and data to the emergency services, and to replace the existing Airwave network with one provided by EE, who operate the UK’s largest and fastest 4G Network.

All five questions were grouped and one response was given by Nick Hurd the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service:
The details of ESN and Extended Area Service (EAS) masts in (a) Dwyfor Meirionnydd, (b) Arfon, © Ceredigion and (d) Carmarthen East and Dinefwr are as follows:

Some additional ESN sites are likely to follow. Their locations are currently being confirmed.

I can also confirm that all ESN masts can be shared by multiple mobile network operators. The same will potentially apply to the 30 EAS masts, subject to approval by the relevant Planning Authorities.

In respect of cost, I am afraid it is not possible to aggregate ESN costs down to specific geographic locations and any specific costs in relation to EAS would breach the disproportionate cost threshold.

The Government’s ambition is to have high-quality mobile connectivity where people live, work and travel, and we have committed to extending geographic coverage to 95% of the UK. Roaming in rural areas has the potential to improve consumer choice and could be a solution for the problem of “partial not-spots” (where one or more operators are present, but all four are not). It refers to the ability of customers of one network to use another provider’s network when they do not have access to a signal in a given area. This is currently mandated for emergency calls so that a 999 call can be made from any mobile in all areas where there is a signal from at least one operator.

Improving mobile coverage in rural areas is a priority for us and we are considering all the options available to us, including rural roaming, to facilitate this.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-06-27/270411/

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