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4G map of Norfolk to be created in bid to fill in ‘not-spots’

PUBLISHED: 12:36 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 13:42 08 November 2017

4G and phone signal coverage is getting better in some areas, but other parts of the region have been left behind. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

4G and phone signal coverage is getting better in some areas, but other parts of the region have been left behind. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

Just weeks after an EDP investigation highlighting the lack of mobile internet coverage in Norfolk a county-wide map is set to be created.

Dominic Gilbert, left, and Tom Bristow, who went on a tour to survey 4G signal availability around Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Dominic Gilbert, left, and Tom Bristow, who went on a tour to survey 4G signal availability around Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The definitive map of Norfolk’s mobile coverage will be used to press for improvements in the county’s ‘not-spots’.

At a meeting this morning, Norfolk County Council’s Digital Innovation and Efficiency Committee unanimously approved plans to commission a countywide survey of mobile voice and data coverage across all major networks providing services in Norfolk.

As a minimum, the survey would be expected to capture coverage along all the county’s A and B roads, its major rail routes and stations, key tourist areas and in the urban centres of Norwich, King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth.

Once the results are known, Norfolk County Council intends to use them to strengthen the business case for further investment to boost mobile coverage. It would also enable the council to help telecoms providers find suitable locations for mobile infrastructure, which could include offering access, for a fee, to council or other public sector-owned assets such as offices, fire towers or even wind turbines.

Tom Garrod, Chairman of the Digital Innovation and Efficiency Committee, said: “We’ve seen a lot of progress with broadband access in the county as a result of our Better Broadband for Norfolk programme but progress on mobile coverage has sadly lagged behind. This survey will be a crucial start in improving mobile phone coverage across the county and networks.

“Our survey would arm us with the evidence we need to not only lobby for improvements but also to suggest practical solutions to telecoms companies and bring about real change.”

Our investigation last month revealed problems in coverage persist in Norfolk.

Nova Fairbank, from the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “The present mobile coverage maps show that there is still a big difference between coverage levels when using a mobile phone indoors and outdoors – by definition a mobile should be just that – mobile.”

A survey from the Chamber earlier this year showed 43pc of their members in Norfolk had access to 4G.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We agree mobile coverage must improve. Our rules mean virtually all UK premises must receive a 4G signal by the end of this year.”

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