By DAn Grimmer
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Mobile phone coverage is so patchy in parts of Norfolk that calls to emergency services are impossible, according to councillors who are calling for the county to be handed extra cash to tackle the problem.
Members of Norfolk County Council have agreed to lobby the government and MPs to prioritise the ‘not spots’ in the county’s mobile phone coverage.
Their action comes after a motion was put forward at a meeting of the full council by Hilary Cox, Conservative county councillor for Cromer.
She said: “It is so frustrating that whenever I leave Cromer, whether I’m going east, south or west, I go through a not spot area.
“It is disappointing that, despite huge advancements in mobile phone technology, there are some parts of Norfolk where it is not possible to get a mobile phone signal and where it may be difficult to reach professionals who are regularly on the move.”
Alison Thomas, cabinet member for Long Stratton, said: “Long Stratton is not exactly out there in the middle of nowhere, but is a complete not-spot, most particularly for Vodafone.
“That’s been brought to my attention on a number of occasions, including a resident who was trying to reach Macmillan nurse to get some pain relief for her husband, who was dying, but could not get through to them until they returned to the office because they were out and about.”
The council. which has already pledged to match-fund a project to bring superfast broadband to Norfolk. is hoping it will benefit from a share of a £150m funding pot to improve mobile phone coverage.
The government’s Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) has allocated £150m to improve mobile network services across the whole of the UK in areas defined as “complete not spots”, where mobile signals currently do not exist.
Funds have already been confirmed through the MIP scheme for improving the mobile signal along the A143 corridor, between Great Yarmouth and Haverhill.
But the council is hoping for a further boost. County council leader Bill Borrett said: “We have had mobile phones for 20 years and I think it is a scandal we have parts of Norfolk where you do not get a proper mobile phone signal.
“It is important for Norfolk and I give my personal commitment that we will present a very strong case for Norfolk having some of this government money.”
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