Mobile phones are vital to business across Suffolk - and today we launch a hard-hitting campaign to get better signal coverage across the county.
In partnership with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, the Bury Free Press is calling on mobile operators to eradicate those annoying spots where coverage is patchy - we are calling it our No More Not-Spots Campaign.
And we need YOUR help to support business - and households - who are suffering with poor signal. We will be asking you to register all areas where mobile signal is at best poor, or at worse, non-existent.
Haverhill-based businesswoman and immediate past president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Sarah Howard MBE, is backing the campaign.
Mrs Howard made history by becoming the first Suffolk person to be named vice-president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).
She said: “The BCC is increasing its focus on the less-than-adequate provision of 3G and 4G mobile coverage. Poor and intermittent mobile coverage is an aggravating drag factor on many businesses across the country, resulting in delays and lost opportunities.
“The aim of the No More Not-Spots campaign is straightforward: by 2020 UK phone users will no longer experience not-spots for voice coverage in locations used for home, work, travel or play.
“The achievement of such an aim will, of course, not be so straightforward. We know that good campaigning requires both sound evidence and data and a collaborative approach to persuading the mobile network operators themselves to work more closely with businesses to extend their coverage.
“The No More Not-Spots campaign will raise awareness of the issue among businesses and residents alike and will encourage them to report not-spots to their operators. It is vital that people submit their own experience of not-spots in order for us to make the best case possible for improved coverage in each affected area.
“Our campaign will also involve us engaging with the mobile network operators to encourage them to develop clear publicly available plans to extend the coverage of their services,” added Mrs Howard.
In future weeks, we will be highlighting the value of the campaign, more people supporting it and focusing on some businesses who are suffering at the hands of poor mobile coverage. John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive, will put the case for better coverage next week.
Please get involved with the campaign, initially by sharing your issues via Twitter, using the hashtag #shareyournotspots Please also use the chamber identifier @suffolkchamber and our own @buryfree to spread the message.
Bury Free Press editor Barry Peters said: “Mobile phones and good coverage go hand-in-hand and are no longer a luxury - they are a real necessity for business and an important tool as Suffolk strives to maintain its reputation for being a business powerhouse.
“The success of the No More Not-Spots campaign is vital for the wealth and vibrancy of our county and the mobile phone companies need to up their game so that good coverage becomes the accepted norm.”