December 11 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 27, 2013
More needs to be done to tackle mobile phone “not-spots”, the prime minister has admitted, urging the Eastern Daily Press to share its information so the government can get to work.
David Cameron said good levels of mobile communication and broadband were “absolutely essential” for a 21st-century economy – but he failed to pledge any more money to the problem, claiming £150m had already been put aside and planning laws had been changed.
The EDP is on a crusade to end the scandal of people living in areas where they cannot use their mobiles – which is said to be crippling small rural businesses and cutting people off in emergencies.
Since the Let’s Get Connected campaign was launched, the EDP has been inundated with readers describing the poor level of service they receive across the region.
Mr Cameron said there were areas of his constituency where the signal cut out.
“I know where it is going to cut out and when it is going to cut out. For a 21st-century economy it is absolutely essential that you not only have rural broadband, but also good levels of mobile connections and the latest technology.”
He claimed the “whole picture” of where Britain was on broadband and 4G was “reasonable” compared to the rest of Europe, but admitted more needed to be done on the not-spots.
“Tell Mr Vaizey [Ed Vaizey, culture minister] where they are, and we will get to work on them,” he added.
Danny Hickling, who owns Little Gems at Cromer, said he did not feel that mobile phone signal was being taken seriously enough by a government, which was out of touch with rural life.
“Good infrastructure should be there for all businesses,” he said.
But he said that mobile companies like Vodafone should also be doing more and the government should be ensuring they provided a proper service.
The coalition also came under fire over its rural broadband programme yesterday which was slammed in a cross-party report which claimed the programme had been mismanaged and run by a “quasi-monopoly” with BT running all the contracts.
But Mr Cameron dismissed the damning verdict, hitting out at Public Accounts Committee chairman and Labour MP Margaret Hodge.
He said: “In three short years we have made huge strides forward. We are now connecting up 10,000 homes a week under the rural broadband programme.
“We are putting money into the programme. I think BT are doing a good job.
“The fact is we opened up the competition to others but in the end BT predominantly came forward.”
The EDP’s Let’s Get Connected campaign is for, and about, our readers. Whether you are a businessman who finds a lack of signal jeopardis-ing your success, a householder who finds it impossible to stay in touch when friends and family when out and about, or a tourist visiting our great region, we want to hear how you have been affected. Your stories about problems you have faced because of poor, inter-mittent or nonexistent mobile phone coverage will help us to build up a powerful argument highlighting why this must be tackled. As well as signing our petition, you can tell us your stories to help us to build up a dossier to make the case for change.
Write to Let’s Get Connected, EDP, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, email email@example.com, phone 01603 772459, or visit www.edp24.co.uk/news/lets-get-connected