THE high-speed 5G mobile network has come to East Lancashire.

Mobile network operator EE, part of the BT Group, announced they switched on the service in Blackburn on Thursday as part of an expansion of the network into 35 towns and cities across the UK.

This will mean the town, along with local landmarks including Blackburn Cathedral and Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, will now be covered by the network in time for the easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council chief executive Denise Park said: “It’s never been more important for people to stay connected online, whether that’s for work or keeping in touch with family and friends.

“The need for digital connectivity is predicted to grow even further over the next few years and this will be particularly important for our businesses, as well for the quality of life of our residents.

“The fact EE has extended its 5G network to Blackburn is extremely welcome and I believe it puts us in a great position to take advantage of the benefits of this new technology.

"We look forward to the whole borough having coverage.”

5G coverage will provide faster speed, greater reliability and lower latency to mobile devises.

This could be critical to the borough's economy as businesses emerge from lockdown and, in particular, venues hoping to attract back visitors.

With this in mind, EE has focused its most recent rollout on ensuring that tourist landmarks, historical sites, and coastal locations are granted 5G coverage.

BT Group regional lead for the North of England Liz Needleman said: “It’s fantastic that EE has launched its 5G network in Blackburn, connecting more places in Lancashire to the next generation in mobile network technology.

“With more people set to stay closer to home for short breaks and holidays this year, the fact people will have faster and more reliable connectivity is a real positive.

"Many people will also use a navigation app to find their way around a new place or use a browser on their phone to look up tourist information, so the arrival of 5G here is a timely boost.”