The UK mobile provider Virgin Media O2 has announced that it has upgraded its network in over 72,000 holiday hotspot postcodes including in the Scottish Highlands and Hebrides, Kent, Cornwall, East Sussex, and Yorkshire. It comes as a self-commissioned survey found 65% of Brits were planning a staycation this year.
The company said that it had been upgrading its network at the staycation locations since May last year so that more people can get connected to the internet when they’re taking a trip. Having a good internet connection was important to 70% of people when choosing a destination to stay at according to the survey so the upgrades could have an impact on local economies.
Commenting on the upgrade, Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said:
“With the school summer holidays well underway, we are doubling down on improving and expanding our network so that, come rain or shine, our customers have access to the services they want wherever and whenever they need them.”
As part of the improvements, the company has partnered with the Welsh Government and rural coverage experts Wavemobile to help bring connectivity to not-spots.
The first place to benefit is the South Stack nature reserve in Wales where the permanent mobile connectivity has also enabled card payments at the visitor centre which will help boost the local economy.
While the upgrades are definitely nice for the locals and tourists, the infrastructure upgrades also help the economy. Virgin Media O2 said that excellent digital connectivity in rural areas can add £842 million per year for rural tourism businesses and add an additional 4,606 jobs in the rural tourism employment sector.
For anyone in the UK that’s planning to visit the European Union, Virgin Media O2 pointed out that O2 is the only major network still not charging customers who roam on the continent as long as they keep their usage below 25 GB.
Source: Virgin Media O2