Monday 5th June 2017: O2 has installed the first permanent 4G mobile mast in Staylittle, in Powys, Wales, bringing mobile connectivity to a rural community that was completely cut off from all communications just over 18 months ago.
In the Summer of 2015, Staylittle experienced a total communication black-out, leaving the village completely cut off from the outside world for nearly two weeks. With the nearest town located approximately eight miles away, Staylittle residents relied on one working landline in the local Post Office to keep in touch with family, friends and customers.
Residents were forced to stay indoors to make and receive phone calls and had to resort to expensive, patchy satellite home internet to get online. In response, O2 installed a temporary 2G mobile mast in the village in 2015, bringing mobile connectivity which enabled voice calls and texts in Staylittle for the first time. Since then O2 has worked tirelessly, in collaboration with local authorities, to install a permanent 4G mobile mast. The new mobile mast now provides full 3G and 4G coverage to the entire village, enabling villagers to connect to the internet and make calls from wherever they are in the area. The installation represents part of O2’s on-going commitment to providing mobile connectivity across the UK.
Becky Williams, a Staylittle resident who runs Kids Closet, a children’s clothing company, said: “Having mobile internet access has already made a big difference to the local community. We’re all very happy to be able to connect online with our family and friends – a luxury that is often taken for granted elsewhere in the UK.”
Beyond Staylittle, almost 400 more Welsh villages are set to benefit from O2’s commitment to improving rural network coverage from now until the end of the year. O2 invests over £2 million every day to develop its network across the UK and its 4G network now covers 96.8 per cent of the UK population outdoors.
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2, said: “At O2, we pride ourselves on listening to customers, but we also listen to communities who have yet to feel part of a digitally connected Britain. 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.
“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.”
Russell George, Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire and Chair of the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee, said of the new mobile mast: “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.”
O2’s installation of the 4G mobile mast has helped to enhance the lives of those in Staylittle, enabling them to access the internet and speak to family and friends wherever they are in the area.