If we all pull together, everyone can get much better connected

No phone signal. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

No phone signal. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Let's Get Connected – that's the message today from your Eastern Daily Press as we launch an urgent appeal to the government and mobile phone companies in our region.

The SoS message from Norfolk, Waveney and Fenland is simple: Strengthen our Signals.

In the 21st century a mobile phone is an essential tool of modern life – and most people use them for much more than simply making calls.

But large parts of our region, including major tourist hotspots, are plagued by poor and patchy coverage from big mobile operators.

If you're a Vodafone customer, don't expect to be able to make or receive calls in Sheringham or Blakeney. If you're on Everything Everywhere (EE), don't count on your signal in Caister-on-Sea, while swathes of north and west Norfolk are out of bounds for customers on the 3 network.

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And there are communities across our region which remain unserved by any mobile network whatsoever.

It is simply not good enough. If you travel to Europe, even remote outposts have better coverage than we endure in this part of the world.

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Our patchy coverage makes life difficult for business, hinders our reputation as a great place to come for visits or holiday and can be a safety issue. Our campaign has already attracted the backing of Norfolk County Council, the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. Our demand is very simple: We want good mobile signals for every provider throughout our counties. Not too much to ask in this hi-tech era, surely...

The government has made £150m available to end what it calls 'not spots' – areas where there is no signal – and a stretch near the A143 from Great Yarmouth to Haverhill has already been earmarked for upgrade.

But the erection of masts serves no purpose unless ALL the major mobile phone companies put transmitters on them. If a new mast is put up to serve a series of villages, and Vodafone puts a transmitter on it, then that is great news for Vodafone customers. But it's no good at all for those who use EE. So, we need the masts, and we also need the big players in the market to provide the service.

What can you do to help? What we need to demonstrate is that the demand exists. We must show how difficult life can be with patchy, or non-existent, mobile coverage.

We need your stories: we need you to tell us about blackspots and we want to hear how that's made life difficult, or even dangerous. We also want you to sign our 'Let's Get Connected' petition form.

We promise to present the evidence to the people who can make a difference. Get in touch.

For more information please visit http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/lets-get-connected

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