Home » Plaid politicians welcome mobile ‘not-spots’ summit

Plaid politicians welcome mobile ‘not-spots’ summit

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Hot or not: Summit will discuss patchy mobile phone coverage

A SUMMIT to discuss poor mobile phone coverage in Wales will be held this autumn, Wales Office Minister Guto Bebb announced this week. 

Mobile phone operators will meet with farming representatives and rural councils to discuss the problem, Mr Bebb confirmed. Speaking to an Ofcom reception at the Royal Welsh Show, he said that small and medium-sized businesses, which need good broadband and mobile phone reception, employ more than a quarter of a million people in Wales: “We now rightfully expect our mobile devices to work reliably wherever we are, be it at home, at work, in a car, or in the fields of Powys,” the Conservative MP added.

“That’s why, building on the discussions at this event, we will convene a summit with Ofcom, the mobile network operators, and other key stakeholders to formally consider the issues surrounding poor mobile connectivity in Wales.”

Carmarthenshire’s Plaid Cymru politicians, Jonathan Edwards MP and Adam Price AM, have welcomed the news.

As part of their ‘Connecting Carmarthenshire’ campaign, both have held several meetings with mobile-phone giants including Vodafone, O2, EE and Three, to encourage greater investment to resolve the issues of poor coverage in Carmarthenshire.

Ofcom research has found that 81% of Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Wales describe communications services as fundamental to their business, while 76% of SMEs are now online.

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Responding to the announcement of the summit, Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“I welcome the announcement of this summit by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, and the focus on improving rural mobile phone connectivity.

“Connecting Carmarthenshire has been and remains a key priority for me, and I have held several meetings with mobile-phone giants to impress upon them the need to improve connectivity in Carmarthenshire, particularly in rural areas.

“This summit is an acknowledgement of the need for more to be done by both the Welsh and UK Governments – and the industry itself – to ensure that rural communities are fully connected into the mobile communications network so that they can receive the economic and social benefits of connectivity.”

Adam Price, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Finance and Economy, said: “This summit is a step in the right direction with the UK Government taking ownership over the need to improve the provision of mobile phone connectivity in rural areas in Wales.

“Improving rural connectivity is essential in improving the economic prospects, of our rural communities by interlinking small and medium sized businesses in Wales to the national and global economy.

“I look forward to the outcome of the summit and will be keeping a close eye on its progress to ensure it addresses the issue of rural connectivity with renewed vigour and focus.”