The company tasked with extending mobile phone coverage to areas of Mid Ulster with none, has revealed that three out of seven planned masts will not go ahead.
Draperstown, which suffers poor phone coverage, is one of those three.
In a report to Mid Ulster District Council’s Policy & Resources Committee it said that masts intended for Castlecaulfield and Aughnacloy will not go ahead also.
Disappointed at the news, a spokesperson for the council said this means the funding earmarked for the masts will now be lost.
In a letter to council boss Anthony Tohill, Arqiva’s town planning manager Peter Hayne said it was disappointing that “it has not proved possible to progress with these sites within the project timeframe”.
Planning permission had been granted or was pending for new masts on Glenviggan Road in Draperstown, Terrenew Road in Castlecaulfield and Carricklongfield Road in Aughnacloy.
But, it seems, other necessary steps had not been completed.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Given the strategic importance for Mid Ulster of the mobile infrastructure project, which aims to help address ‘mobile not-spots’, the Development Committee was disappointed to have confirmation that three of the seven identified projects would now not be completed by the end of March this year and that funds could not be ring-fenced to allow the projects to proceed in the next financial year.”
But lobbying will continue for a solution in the three villages.
“As well as writing to Arqiva, DCMS and DETI to express disappointment at the loss, the committee is to lobby for alternative site solutions in those areas, such as Draperstown, Castlecaulfield and Aughnacloy, which will now not be progressed as part of the original plan.”