Government finds 12 parts of Norfolk with no mobile phone emergency signal - but will anything be done about it?

Reepham traders say the poor mobile signal in the town is costing them business. Photo: John Tym Photography Reepham traders say the poor mobile signal in the town is costing them business. Photo: John Tym Photography

Monday, March 10, 2014
10:04 AM

A government programme to improve mobile phone coverage across the country has identified 12 parts of Norfolk where no mobile emergency signal exists.

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The news came as Norfolk County Council revealed that its Better Broadband for Norfolk programme, which also involves the government and BT, was running ahead of schedule.

By the end of December, it had given fibre broadband infrastructure to 22,335 properties - more than 2,500 more than it was contracted to do by this date.

The national Mobile Infrastructure Project, a £150m scheme to provide mobile phone mast infrastructure in ‘not spot’ clusters, had previously identified the A143 between Great Yarmouth and Haverhill as one of 10 trunk roads in the country that needed investment.

Although 12 new clusters of Norfolk ‘not spots’ have been identified, the council said it was not allowed to say where they were because their locations were shared under a non-disclosure agreement.

There was also uncertainty about what, if anything, would be done to bring mobile phone coverage to these areas.

A report to tomorrow’s Environment, Transport and Development Panel said they had been assessed for accessibility, as well as numerous environmental aspects, and a meeting had been due to be held with district planners on February 19.

The results of the meeting are unknown.

Last year, the Norfolk Community Foundation’s Norfolk Strategic Needs Report warned that “a large proportion of Norfolk has no or very small access to broadband”.

Details of the Better Broadband programme were first announced in 2013, following an EDP-backed campaign for improved communications for communities across the county.

In its first phase, it installed six new ‘fibre spines’ totalling 111km, 89 cabinets, and another 40km of fibre to connect the cabinets to the spines.

The second phase, running until June, includes improvements in Downham Market and North Walsham, eight new fibre spines and 94 new fibre cabinets.

■ Are you or your business suffering because of poor mobile phone or broadband coverage? Email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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