The Government is trying to kick-start the spread of 5G to rural areas around the UK with a competition set to bring it to the most isolated regions of England.
It will involve installing enormous masts designed to boost the coverage area of the ultra-fast mobile internet.
The current restriction on the height of the masts is set at 82ft (25m) and could be doubled to 165ft (50m) — almost exactly the same height as Nelson’s column.
The £30 million competition will see up to ten rural run trials of 5G-related technology.
The Government said it hoped the scheme, called the Rural Connected Communities competition, could help stimulate investment in 5G.
It is also hoped it will help countryside communities take advantage of the technology.
Similar schemes have already been set up in the Orkney Islands to remotely monitor salmon fisheries and improve the efficiency of wind farms.
Another popped up in Shropshire, where 5G trials have been used to help the farming industry with crop-spraying and soil analysis via drones and tractors.
Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: ‘The British countryside has always been a hotbed of pioneering industries and we’re making sure our rural communities aren’t left behind in the digital age.
‘We’re investing millions so the whole country can grasp the opportunities and economic benefits of next-generation 5G technology.
‘In modern Britain, people expect to be connected wherever they are. And so we’re committed to securing widespread mobile coverage and must make sure we have the right planning laws to give the UK the best infrastructure to stay ahead.’
The Government has also announced the launch of a consultation on proposals to simplify planning rules to improve rural mobile coverage.
It will seek views on proposals that would change the permitted height of new masts as well as allow existing ground-based masts to be strengthened without prior approval.
Housing and Planning minister Esther McVey said: ‘We’re committed to delivering the homes people across the country need, and that includes delivering the right infrastructure such as broadband connectivity and good mobile coverage.
‘There is nothing more frustrating than moving into your new home to find signal is poor.
‘That’s why we are proposing to simplify planning rules for installing the latest mobile technology – helping to extend coverage and banish more of those signal blackspots, particularly for those living in rural areas.’