Rural Britain still has poor mobile service, says Ofcom

A report comissioned by UK telecoms regulator OfCom has revealed that the state of mobile signal, provider choice and availability of 3G is still severely lacking in many rural areas of Great Britain.

According to a report in the UK's Telegraph newspaper, it turns out that over 27% of the UK still has no access to a 3G network; you can include my house in that.

OfCom is required by law to conduct its Infrastructure Report (PDF) every three years - and with good reason. As it stands, telephony companies are required to cover at least 80% of the UK, but they are free to choose these areas themselves - so it's no surprise that they tend to target densely popular areas more than rural ones. That makes sense as they're for-profit businesses afterall, but it does leave the rural areas in the lurch somewhat.

What is surprising about the report is that the status of broadband and mobile coverage doesn't seemed to have changed much in the past few years. There will always be more competition in the denser population centres, but the discussion of poor coverage for certain parts of the UK has been long-running.

The UK pledged last year to deliver the best broadband in Europe by 2015, and will need to work hard if it still plans to deliver on that.

The big change that could move things along, and perhaps open new areas of the UK up for more mobile competition, is the auctioning of 4G licences. This is likely to rejig things a little, possibly reducing the monopolies some providers have in certain areas and paving the way for better data coverage.