In 2019, the Government made a £1 billion deal with four mobile network providers to make poor mobile phone coverage a thing of the past and banish all 'not spots' in rural areas. But Kristy Adams' experience of living in a Mid Sussex village and working in a rural area in a small business is that this hasn't been achieved yet.
The plan was to improve mobile signal through sharing of mobile phone masts and improve UK mobile phone coverage, utilising 4G and 5G, yet in reality if you live in a Mid Sussex village there are still major gaps. For example in Cuckfield, at Kristy's aunt's house, the mobile signal is best standing on the toilet in the loft conversion, as you can imagine in a power cut this is slightly inconvenient! As a small business owner whilst driving through the same village and on a hands free call with a client, expect to be cut off at least four times. The UK's mobile network operators have created a Shared Rural Network yet what happens if there's a power cut in Bolney, Mid Sussex and you have a health issue? Once super-fast broadband is installed the copper landline is removed, so how do you call for help if the mobile signal is non existent?
Mobile connectivity is vital for vulnerable residents but also for economic success and therefore job creation, more people are working from home since the covid pandemic. There are more start up businesses in rural areas and in particular in Mid Sussex - small business is the economic engine for our area. Kristy Adams said, " I'm determined no part of Mid Sussex is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity, those living in rural areas should be able to get the reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve."
Country Land and Business Association Deputy President Mark Bridgeman said in 2019, "We know the countryside has huge potential for job creation and new economic growth, but in order for this to happen we must ensure every community in the country is fully - connected. Today's news is a big step towards achieving that goal. We have been hugely frustrated at the lack of progress in improving mobile reception to date, but the legal coverage obligations now put on operators to improve the situation, through the delivery of a Single Rural Network, will ensure demonstrable improvements over the next few years for rural communities."
Four years on, Kristy Adams questions why this has still not been achieved in Mid Sussex? The mobile operators received money from Government, Mid Sussex needs and wants improved mobile coverage from the operators.