December 6 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 16, 2013
County councils and Visit East Anglia, which promotes tourism, are firmly backing the Let’s Get Connected campaign.
They are joining us to try to persuade mobile companies to improve signals, either by installing more and better masts – or sharing more masts by installing transmitters on masts owned by other companies. At present EE and 3 share masts, as do O2 and Vodafone – but that does not mean their service is the same. Along the Suffolk coast it is possible for O2 customers to use their phones in most areas, but Vodafone customers get no signal.
Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee said: “The council is firmly behind the EADT’s Let’s Get Connected campaign.
“In much the same way that people want access to decent broadband speeds, they rightly expect to be able to get a mobile phone signal when they need one.
“We welcome the Government’s recent investment in reducing the number of areas with no mobile coverage whatsoever – and very much expect that this to be the beginning of a significant service improvement across Suffolk.
“Residents and businesses in the county all stand to benefit from these improvements.”
Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for infrastructure in Essex, said: “Essex County Council, through its Superfast Essex Programme and its Next Generation Networks project is tackling mobile notspots.
“As 4G becomes readily available in cities across the UK, getting a voice connection in parts of Essex is a problem.
“ECC, individually and through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, is lobbying Government and mobile operating companies to ensure that mobile coverage; voice, 3G and 4G is available across Essex.
“We salute the East Anglian Daily Times for initiating this campaign and are keen to support it and be involved in it.”
Visit East Anglia chief executive Keith Brown said maintaining a strong mobile network was vital to attracting visitors in the 21st century.
He said: “With the competition to attract both domestic and international visitors to Suffolk and the increasing use of mobile devices to find the best places to stay, visit and experience whilst already in the county, the ease of access to a good signal without any ‘blind spots’ is critical.
“Research also confirms that many people need to be in touch with their work and therefore if an area is reported to have inconsistent network coverage then visitors could choose another part of England thereby losing much needed income for the county.
“Tourism in Suffolk is worth £1.7billion in income and employs 17,000 people. Therefore every 1% of decline in visitors due to poor telephone coverage would lose the county £17 million in revenue.”
His team had personal experience of the problems faced by poor mobile coverage: “Visit East Anglia is a ‘virtually virtual’ organisation with a team of six employees often either working from home or remotely.
“We have experienced great difficulty in finding a common network for the teams’ telephones and laptops and therefore it has been impossible for us to get a group discount as a result. Despite the efforts of our telecommunications partner we have not found a solution.”