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Stephen Crabb MP calls for rural roaming to tackle mobile blackspots

PRESELI MP Stephen Crabb has joined a cross-party group of 75 MPs asking the Government to do more to improve mobile phone signal in rural areas.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP, Stephen Crabb and his fellow MPs asked the Government to make a requirement that network operators enable roaming between providers to improve mobile coverage in rural areas.

Commenting on the letter, Stephen Crabb said: “There has been a lack of co-ordination between network providers which has left many rural areas in Pembrokeshire covered by some but not all the networks. This is detrimental to the economic, educational and leisure opportunities and remains a significant hindrance to the growth of the local economy. The introduction of roaming services between networks will vastly increase mobile signal for many residents and visitors to Pembrokeshire”.

In some parts of the country, mainly in rural areas, patchy, intermittent coverage means that many people have limited or no access to mobile coverage. Mr Crabb said that he and the co-signatories of the letter supported the Government’s Strategic Priorities for Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, which calls on the authority to fully consider the costs and benefits of roaming in rural areas. Whilst Ofcom has agreed that ‘co-operations of operators’ would improve mobile coverage, the MPs are urging the Secretary of State to take it one step further and make it a requirement of network providers to deliver it.

The Government has pledged to ensure that there is mobile coverage to 95% of the UK by 2022 but this will still leave many areas without a workable signal.