Mobile phone coverage ‘blackspot’ highlighted, as bosses admit frustration at ‘slow pace of change’
PUBLISHED: 08:59 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:59 04 July 2019
Mobile phone companies will be quizzed on how much progress has been made on improving coverage in Norfolk.
Geoff Connell, head of informational management and technology at the county council, said he would bring back the four key operators (Vodafone, EE, O2 and 3) to review improvements.
It comes after a resident in Syderstone, near Fakenham, complained that coverage was still as bad as it was in March, when the problems were previously highlighted.
Mr Connell admitted he was still frustrated at the pace of change with gaps in coverage in parts of the county.
He said: "We have offered 200 buildings, all in gap areas, to mobile phone operators to put their mobile phone equipment on, charging a peppercorn rent, to make it easier for them. We will also soon call in all four operators to review progress.
"The reality is that it's going to be very hard to connect some places in the county. As a council we can fund fibre, but all we can do with mobile networks is to help operators reduce their costs.
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"Norfolk CC is doing everything we can to improve mobile connectivity for the people and businesses of the county."
Mike Meakin, from Syderstone, said: "Locally, there has been no change. In our village we are in an absolute blackspot. The nearest cellphone tower, owned by EE, is at Wicken Green, 1.8 miles away.
"People with a line of sight across the fields have a signal, but the village is in a dip. Any signal goes over the top.
"The EE mast is used as a virtual network by all of the alternative suppliers - but there's no signal on 2G, 3G,4G.
"Increasingly, mobile phone use is evolving, taking in more and more everyday activities.
"Tradespeople generally use mobile phones. Our landline bill for returning calls to mobiles is more than our monthly mobiles' charge.
"The ultimate irony is that when people ring our mobiles, but get no reply, they then ring the landline complaining bitterly that 'your mobile was switched off'.
"Time for a reprise of the mobile phone network coverage in Norfolk?"