Better coverage for mobile users

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If you live in parts of Cuckfield and Ditchling you may have problems getting through to anyone on a mobile phone but big improvements are on the way, says Ofcom.

Sheila Gilbert from Cuckfield will be very relieved because, like other rural dwellers, she thinks the current situation is “completely impossible”.

She said: “I feel it is very unfair that we pay for a service which is totally inadequate. Mobile connection is extremely difficult in this area.

“Some of my neighbours don’t have land lines, so, for them, the ridiculous situation is farcical.

“I just feel maybe something can be done to improve the situation.”

We contacted Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, where Joe Smithies told us improvements are on the way.

He said: “Mobile providers tend to prioritise investment in network infrastructure where the maximum number of consumers and businesses can be served.

“This can sometimes lead to areas where coverage cannot be achieved without Government intervention.

“So, the Government is providing funding of up to £150million to address the 0.3 per cent of premises in the UK that currently lack coverage.

“This is called the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), and it is being run through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

“MIP should ensure that around two-thirds of these premises will receive a mobile service by 2015, and is expected to raise total 2G coverage to 99.9 per cent of premises. This is the major piece of work that’s happening.

During the recent 4G mobile auction, we imposed an obligation to ensure that 4G mobile broadband services will be made available to at least 98 per cent of UK premises indoors.

“This is a much tougher obligation than applies to current 3G services.”