A campaign group is calling on the Government to do more to boost mobile phone coverage in rural areas with poor signal quality – such as Boston borough.
The Government plans to tackle poor coverage and enable everyone to access a signal ‘wherever there is one available’.
The move has been welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association East (CLA). However, the CLA, which represents farmers, landowners, and rural businesses, said plans were needed to improve access to 3G and 4G signals, and not just 2G which the Government’s new proposals seek to address.
Culture secretary Sajid Javid said he was determined to sort out the issue of mobile ‘not spots’ – localised patches of poor coverage which leave a fifth of people in the UK not able to access the internet via their phones, or even make calls or send texts.
CLA East regional director Nicola Currie said: “Businesses in rural ‘not spots’ need solutions as a matter of urgency and to be able to work a reliable time table so they can make informed investment decisions.
“We welcome the Government increasing its focus on poor mobile phone coverage and striving to get real solutions from mobile phone operators, as this a real problem for people in rural areas and needs desperate attention.
“The current mobile phone infrastructure is simply accentuating the rural-urban digital divide and it is down to Government and the mobile industry to reduce and, ultimately, resolve this disparity.”
Mrs Currie was part of a delegation of business leaders and community representatives from across East Anglia that met Ed Vaizey, minister for the Digital Economy, in Westminster in September to discuss connectivity in rural areas.
The group outlined the economic and social case for a pilot project to improve broadband through satellite and wireless technologies. This would then allow for a 3G mobile signal to be generated through Open Sure Signal devices.
The Government has issued a number of proposals to improve the current situation, and has given the industry, businesses and the public until November 26 to respond to its consultation.
Mrs Currie added: “We need to ensure plans are in place for everyone in the UK, not just in urban areas, to be able to receive the best possible mobile signal available and a quality broadband connection that is both stable and reliable.”