December 5 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 16, 2013
The Chambers of Commerce in both Suffolk and Essex have backed the campaign calling for improved mobile coverage across the region.
David Burch, policy director of the Essex Chamber, said there were problems with getting a mobile signal in some of the largest towns in the area.
A particular concern with the business community is the poor mobile phone connection on the main rail route from the region to London – making it difficult for people to make calls from a moving train.
That is a concerned shared by SELEP, the Local Enterprise Partnership covering Essex. They have raised concerns about the difficulties in getting a mobile signal on trains passing through the Chelmsford area.
Mr Burch said: “We know the companies are working hard on more new technology like 4G in major cities, but there should be more emphasis on bringing good 3G coverage to areas like this.”
Mobile companies’ maps indicate their coverage is bad in some rural areas of Essex – the Vodafone signal is very weak in the Manningtree/Lawford area – but Mr Burch said he had difficulties in the heart of Colchester.
“I was trying to make a call in the middle of the town and kept losing the signal. Mobile companies really need to boost their coverage if business and personal users are going to feel confident,” he said.
Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore gave his full backing to the campaign: “For hundreds of firms across our county the issue of mobile phone coverage is fundamental to running a successful business.
“Getting this right is as important as other critical infrastructure issues that are being addressed in the county such as superfast broadband and the upgrading of the A14.
“Firms across our county are working harder than ever during challenging economic times. They need to know that as they travel across Suffolk their connectivity and communications with their clients and customers is not part of a geographic lottery.
“If we are serious about bringing more business and more success to the county then we must have a mobile phone network that is fit for purpose.
“At present we don’t and that is why we are supporting this campaign.”
The issue of mobile coverage on trains has been raised by SELEP after businesses struggled to keep in touch with their offices while travelling along the region.
A spokesman for the LEP said: “I was on a train from London and heard someone trying to call his office to confirm the award of a big contract. It was clear the line kept breaking and he had to call back about five times.
“That is not good enough in the 21st century!”