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Mobile Phone Coverage

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 7th March 2019.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

What steps his Department is taking to improve mobile phone coverage throughout the UK.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Our ambition is to have good mobile coverage where people live, work and travel. I welcome the coverage obligations that Ofcom recently proposed ahead of the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz to 3.8 GHz spectrum auctions. We have reformed the electronic communications code and made changes to planning laws, all to encourage the roll-out of digital infrastructure by making deployment cheaper.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

People living in part of North Walsham in my constituency have been waiting years for any signal at all. They thought their wait was over when a mast was erected in November 2017 but, despite constant pressure on BT Openreach, it still has not been connected. Openreach needs to lay cables across land owned by Anglian Water. Should we not be able to compel these monopolies to provide a service to local people?

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The right hon. Gentleman raises a very important point. We are looking to improve and strengthen the requirements on landowners to allow access to their land for vital infrastructure.