Matt Hancock backs No More Not-Spots campaign

Matt Hancock backed the no more not-spots campaign.

Matt Hancock backed the no more not-spots campaign. - Credit: Archant

A new bid to end mobile phone not-spots across East Anglia has received top government support at a summit meeting at Newmarket.

West Suffolk MP and Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke to business leaders from across the region as they tried to find a way of filling in the not-spots. 400 have been identified across the region out of a total of 1,500 in the UK.

Held in the Guineas suite at Newmarket Racecourses, the ‘by invitation’ summit was hosted by Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) – the first of its kind under the latter’s nationwide ‘No More Not-Spots’ campaign.

The campaign aims to work with trade body Mobile UK and its member network operators to eliminate areas of poor or non-existent mobile voice and data coverage.

The initial stage of the campaign seeks to identify as many such not-spots as possible and then work to address them.

Delegates heard speeches from Mr Hancock, Hannah Essex, co-executive director of policy & campaigns at the BCC, Mobile UK’s head of policy & communications, Gareth Elliott and Geoff Connell, head of IMT at Norfolk County Council.

These speakers outlined the impact on businesses of poor or non-existent mobile coverage, the level of investment being expended to address the problem and proven ways of working in partnership to more rapidly identify and solve not-spot issues.

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John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive, said: “This was a very positive and purposeful summit that allowed suppliers and customers to come together and start identifying areas of common concern – and possible solutions.

“Mobile not-spots are an impediment to doing good business and the east of England seems to be especially affected. In Suffolk key business corridors such as the A14 and the energy coast are dotted with not-spots and because of their impact on national prosperity, we hope these will be priorities to address.

“In short, this summit points the way to collaboratively sorting these issues.”

The BCC is working with the local chambers to pull together the ideas from the summit into an action plan of improvements over the next year.

Not-spots can be logged at the BCC’s special website