Phone signal boost planned for Harrogate

The roof of the water tower on Harlow Hill with the existing mobile phone masts. 2804036a.
The roof of the water tower on Harlow Hill with the existing mobile phone masts. 2804036a.

Mobile phone coverage in Harrogate is set to be boosted if plans to upgrade a base station on top of a historic water tower are given the go-ahead.

The proposals to replace equipment, including aerials, on the roof of the Grade II listed Harlow Hill Water Tower would see new 4G services rolled out by Vodafone and O2.

It would also see improved 2G and 3G coverage for both operators, who will share the site.

The news means that all customers with compatible devices and bundles will be able to connect to the internet quicker and more reliably.

According to the plans, six existing aerials will be replaced with four new antennas, as well as two Remote Radio Units, in a scheme that will “protect the character and appearance” of the historic building.

In a report that will go before planners, Clarke Telecoms, which has submitted the application on behalf of the operators, says: “The impact of the proposal will be minimal upon the listed building, preserving its appearance and setting, whilst enduring widespread social and economic benefits by providing the latest technologies and high quality communications infrastructure to the local area in terms of economic growth. This will enhance the provision of local community facilities and services.”

Both operators have pledged to close the digital divide between urban and rural areas and it is hoped the agreement will lay the foundations for two competing networks to deliver a nationwide 4G service faster than could be achieved independently.

Clarke Telecoms adds: “The agreement allows both operators to pool their basic network infrastructure, while running two independent nationwide networks allowing consumer choice. By doing this, they will both reach far more of the country far faster than they could achieve on their own. This single network will automatically increase each operator’s footprint by 40 per cent adding competition and choice for customers.

In March, it was revealed that only 28 per cent of North Yorkshire was covered by the 3G phone signal, with 4G covering just two per cent of the county.

Last month some customers in Harrogate complained of having no signal, with 02 apologising for the inconvenience.