Shared Rural Network (SRN) – transparency commitment publicationGulistan Ladha
The government has published a transparency notice which provides information on how the Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme meets the subsidy principles set out in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
The government announced in March last year that it had agreed a £1 billion deal with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone to deliver the SRN. The network will be underpinned by spectrum licence coverage commitments on individual mobile networks to deliver 95% geographic coverage. The programme is made up of private and publicly funded elements:
- The mobile networks will collectively invest over £530 million in a shared network of new and existing phone masts. This investment is in areas of partial commercial coverage (partial not spots). The mobile network operators have already begun addressing partial not-spots by mid-2024, announcing over 700 sites so far this year.
- Government will invest over £500 million to target hard-to-reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator (total not spots). As part of the government funded element of the programme, government will also fund upgrades and deployment for the networks on mobile sites being built to deliver the Home Office’s Emergency Services Network (ESN – Extended Area Service Network) programme.
- As part of the public investment, DCMS is committing grant funding of £354m to Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL), a joint delivery vehicle which the four MNOs have repurposed to be the recipient of the grant funding and to support such delivery. The funding will be to enable the total not spots deployment and purchase of the radio equipment required to upgrade the Home Office sites. The grant funding period will amount to 20 years, commencing in February 2021, with capital expenditure taking place over a six year period.