People within the South Downs National Park will receive an improved mobile phone signal following a “landmark” deal.
Mobile phone companies EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, which make up the Mobile Operators Association, have teamed up with National Parks England to sign the government-backed scheme.
The agreement pledges to bring “high-quality connectivity” to the country’s 13 national parks, while ensuring minimal impact on the environment.
Angie Blowman, from the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “This agreement will make it possible for South Downs communities to get the consistent and high-quality mobile connection they need at the same time as protecting the precious landscapes for which the National Park was designated.
“We look forward to working with the mobile operators in order to achieve this.”
The deal is intended to tackle so-called “not spots” – areas where there is little to no mobile coverage. National Parks are notoriously bad for mobile signals, given the terrain and large number of stone buildings which radio waves struggle to penetrate.
Although there are no specific measures in place for the South Downs as yet, it is understood new masts could be built.
The accord states that new masts would be shared between networks and be designed to blend in with the surrounding area.
Sarah Lee, head of policy at the Countryside Alliance, welcomed the agreement.
She said: “National parks are treasured by the public for their natural beauty and iconic landscapes, but they are also living and working environments.
“We welcome this accord between National Parks England and the Mobile Operators Association and hope it leads to better phone coverage in these environmentally sensitive areas in the near future.”