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4G coverage in Norfolk slammed by local leaders

PUBLISHED: 16:54 26 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:54 26 April 2018

Norman Lamb MP is demanding action. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norman Lamb MP is demanding action. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Local leaders are demanding Government action after it emerged that three of the 10 worst local authority areas in England for indoor 4G coverage were in Norfolk.

Liberal Democrat Steffan Aquarone. Pic: Dan GrimmerLiberal Democrat Steffan Aquarone. Pic: Dan Grimmer

Research from the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) shows that South Norfolk came fourth with only 10.64pc, Breckland was fifth with only 11.22pc, and North Norfolk rates eighth worst with only 14.18pc coverage.

The CLA said mobile phone operators must be held to account over their failure to deliver rural connectivity.

It wants a legal obligation of a 95pc geographical 4G coverage by 2022 to be included as part of licensing conditions.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, will be tabling an Early Day Motion on the issue and will be writing to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to demand improvement in 4G coverage for rural areas, particularly Norfolk.

Mr Lamb said: “Norfolk loses out more than anywhere in the country according to this analysis and we demand that this is addressed as a matter of urgency. I support the demands of the CLA and I am writing to the Secretary of State highlighting the poor situation in Norfolk. Poor coverage holds Norfolk back and has an impact on employment and wealth in the county, as well as the country as a whole.”

He is being backed by Steffan Aquarone, Liberal Democrat Norfolk County Councillor for Melton Constable, who said: “It’s unsurprising but totally unacceptable that North Norfolk is the eighth worst area of the country for mobile phone signal. Good mobile coverage isn’t just important for the Facebook generation, it’s vital for vulnerable people, and essential for rural businesses too.

“Mobile phone providers have become like utility companies and there’s no excuse for them not to give rural areas the same service. Action is needed now to improve coverage, and the government has got to make sure the next set of targets are set in law.”

Shane Brennan, director of external affairs for the CLA, which is the membership organisation for rural landowners and businesses, said: “It is imperative that Ofcom set robust targets to improve coverage.”

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