Can you help? Community-powered project to improve mobile phone signal in north Norfolk gets underway

Steffan Aquarone; Photo credit: Mary Rudd PR.

Steffan Aquarone; Photo credit: Mary Rudd PR. - Credit: Archant

More than 100 people from north Norfolk are volunteering their time and backing a campaign to get improved mobile phone signal in the area.

And now the organiser behind the project is calling for more people to get involved.

Liberal Democrat campaigner Steffan Aquarone has been leading the plans to bring better quality signal to the area by attempting to find a solution.

Mr Aquarone said: 'We've spent the past few months gaining momentum and finding people who want to help. Now we're starting the first bit of real engineering - surveying some of the areas that have the biggest 'not spots', starting with the village of Weybourne.'

Now, with the help of volunteers, work has been able to start on the first part of the project.

Volunteers from Aylsham, Aylmerton, Sheringham, Cley, High Kelling, Erpingham, Blakeney, West Runton, Felmingham, Hickling, Cromer, Corpusty, Sustead and North Walsham are all ready to begin signal strength surveying.

'In distance terms, the majority of a mobile phone call travels down the same wires as landline phones and the internet,' he said.

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'The wireless part is just the last bit between your phone and the nearest cell transmitter but each of the big phone companies has their own transmitters. Sometimes they don't even share masts.

'Part of our project will involve installing small cell transmitters in communities so the signal can reach rural areas. People will then be able to join a new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).'

Technology advances mean that the small cells, which are about the size of a briefcase, could be used by parishes that are willing to host them in exchange for free mobile phone service.

Mr Aquarone added: 'Sometimes you have to look for radical alternatives which is why we've been working with people from villages across Norfolk to find a different solution.'

The team is currently looking for more people to come forward from every parish in the area to take part in the project.

Then, once the surveying is complete, the organisation will be set up as a community benefit company, which means no profits can be extracted and any surplus made will be reinvested in growing the network and improving signal.

- Find out more, and get involved, by visiting the website http://bit.ly/norfolkcommunitymobile.

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