Tackling Poor Mobile Phone Coverage
I'm privileged to represent one of the most beautiful constituencies in the country in the Garden of England. Not only do we have a bustling and thriving county town in Maidstone, we have large swathes of stunning countryside and across our rural areas in the Weald.
It seems, however, one price we pay for our rural heritage is a lack of mobile phone signal and distinctly patchy network coverage.
I spend a lot of time in and around our Wealden villages and I very much share constituents' frustrations with difficulties in making calls, fluctuating signal strengths and losing connections mid-call.
In a recent survey too, the Federation of Small Businesses found 71 per cent of small businesses, the lifeblood of our local economy, rated mobile phones as crucial or very important to their business. The survey also found that 51 per cent of businesses said their staff had a problem with mobile coverage very or quite often.
In this digital age of smartphones and the internet, that is simply unacceptable.
To help tackle this I've been running a campaign since last Autumn to improve mobile coverage across Kent, and I'm delighted to report we are already making progress.
The Government has secured a landmark legally binding deal with four major mobile networks (Vodafone, O2, EE & Three) to tackle poor signal issues. Under the agreement, there will be a guaranteed £5bn investment programme to improve mobile infrastructure by 2017 - halving partial not-spots and reducing complete not-spots by almost two-thirds. Fantastic.
On top of that, I've convened a public meeting with the Minister responsible for our mobile networks, Ed Vaizey, on February 12th at 7pm at the High Weald Academy in Cranbrook to discuss how this deal will benefit Kent. I've invited the four major networks too, with Vodafone already pledging attendance.
Spaces are limited, but if you'd like to attend, get in touch at email@example.com or 0207 219 7107 to reserve a space.