A lobby group slammed a ‘deeply disappointing’ deal to try to boost mobile phone signals in areas such as Boston.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) spoke out after the culture secretary Sajid Javid announced that there is now a binding agreement in place with the mobile networks EE, O2, Three and Vodafone to cut total ‘not-spots’, where there is currently no mobile coverage, by two-thirds.
The Government says this will support its existing £150million programme to take mobile coverage to the areas of the UK where there is no coverage at all.
However, the CLA, which represents farmers, landowners, and rural businesses, says the agreement will still leave swathes of the countryside without mobile phone coverage for the foreseeable future.
CLA eastern regional director Nicola Currie said: “This announcement contains big numbers and strong words, but it is deeply disappointing the Government has not pushed the providers to come up with more radical solutions.
“The fact of the matter is that the Government were already making investment and increasing coverage – what we want is an ambition for 100 percent coverage and a clear timetable for doing so. As it stands, homes and businesses across the eastern region still face the prospect of poor, or no, mobile phone coverage for years to come.”
“We are keen to know whether this agreement ends the prospect of a national roaming network that is unwanted by the mobile phone providers, but, in our view, has the potential to provide choice and much-needed access in rural communities.”