Poor mobile phone and broadband coverage raised in Parliament

Someone checking a smartphone

Poor mobile phone coverage in Norfolk has been raised in Parliament. - Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Poor mobile phone coverage in Norfolk and progress on the government's £5bn Project Gigabit drive to improve broadband have been raised in Parliament by the region's MPs.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker and Waveney MP Peter Aldous asked questions in the House of Commons on Thursday (February 17).

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has been getting an increased number of dog theft reports. 

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. - Credit: Archant

Conservative Mr Baker said: "My constituency of North Norfolk has many spots which are outstanding natural beauty spots - that includes Salthouse, Overstrand and Kelling.

"But places such as these also have incredibly bad mobile phone reception and residents are caught between having better reception and having the area blighted by mobile telecoms infrastructure.

"Would the minister meet with me to discuss how we can bring about better mobile signal to these areas without decreasing their natural beauty?"

Julia Lopez.

Julia Lopez, minister of state for media, data, and digital infrastructure. - Credit: Richard Townshend Photography

Julia Lopez, minister of state for media, data, and digital infrastructure, replied: "It's an incredibly picturesque part of the country and we want to maintain that.

"That's why the Shared Rural Network aims to transform mobile phone coverage without duplicating infrastructure and therefore minimising visual impact."

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She said her officials had spoken to the Shared Rural Network and would be getting in touch with Mr Baker's team, while she would be happy to meet him after that..

The Shared Rural Network was developed by the UK's four mobile network operators and the government, aiming to deliver 4G coverage to 95pc of the UK.

The government last year also announced its £5bn Project Gigabit scheme to get 'next generation' gigabit broadband connections to thousands of homes, businesses, libraries, schools and GP surgeries.

Norfolk and Suffolk are among the second phase of that programme and Conservative Mr Aldous questioned Mrs Lopez over its progress.

Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney, urged ministers to extend the benefit deductions freeze.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. - Credit: Archant

He said: "At present, the gaps in coverage in Suffolk extend to approximately 25pc of premises, predominantly in rural areas."

He sought assurances rural area roll out would keep pace with the national scheme.

Mrs Lopez said the government was keen to ensure there was no gap between urban and rural areas.

She added procurement for the Suffolk gigabit broadband delivery was due to begin in April.