Mobile phone ‘not spots’
Better mobile phone coverage across West Berkshire continues to be one of my important local campaigns. I have been helping constituents in places like Upper Woolhampton with this issue and am aware of this problem in Aldermaston, Hermitage, Yattendon, Ashampstead and Curridge as well. I have been working closely with Vodafone to try and improve mobile connection in these areas. I was also contacted by the Newbury BID about poor coverage being experienced by some businesses in Newbury town centre.
Vodafone has recently updated me on progress. The email sent on 7th November from the Head of Network South Area states:
- We have now completed our capacity upgrade programme on the masts in the Newbury area – doubling capacity for data services on the majority of sites, and in 3 cases, we have tripled capacity. This delivers a much better data service for our customers and improves their overall experience on things like web browsing and streaming. As an example, users on the platform on Newbury rail station are experiencing significantly higher download speeds.
- One key improvement was to swap out the mast on the Robin Hood roundabout which we completed in the summer. We’ve increased the height of the mast and also added new technologies to improve service to our customers in the area.
- The work to bring our mast in Downe House school has been completed. We are now going through a series of testing & optimisation to measure where & what improvements are being realised across the area (I will keep you updated once testing is complete)
- Further improvements to Aldermaston will be completed before Christmas 2018 (subject to access being made available)
- Work on a new site in Upper Woolhampton is unfortunately now in delay. The site provider has now withdrawn support for a new mast and we need to identify alternative locations before we can continue – we will keep your office updated on progress.
- Finally, we have now received planning approval for a 24m mast on the Newbury Showground which will provide permanent coverage for all events and the surrounding area.
Further to this, I understand that an alternative site has now been put forward for Upper Woolhampton and I hope that agreement and planning can be arranged as speedily as possible for this. In addition, consultation is taking place on an application for a new mast just beside the M4 at Chapel Lane, Frilsham. This will improve 2G and 3G coverage and add 4G coverage to the Yattendon/Frilsham area and has the backing of local Councillors.
I will continue to put pressure on Vodafone and I have written to other mobile phone providers as well. You can read the response to my letter to EE here. All providers are keen to eliminate ‘not spots’ and there are solutions out there. We all rely on our phones and to have areas of West Berkshire where you still cannot get a signal is unacceptable in this day and age. If we are to achieve 100% coverage across the constituency, I need to hear from people who are struggling with this in order to be able to help so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to report a ‘not spot’.