Bill was disappointed at the decision to withdraw the proposed mast in Fownhope.
He immediately wrote to the Minister, Ed Vaizey, raising his objections to this plan, and tabled Written Parliamentary questions on the proposed mast and overall reception issues in Fownhope.
He also managed to meet with the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, to discuss the problem:
“I took the opportunity today to question the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about the decision by Arqiva not to proceed with the proposed mast in Fownhope.
“I am pleased to report that the Secretary of State listened to my concerns and has promised to investigate the matter.
“He also agreed to accept the petition currently being organised by Fownhope Parish Council and is going to look into the letters that I have sent on to him.
“I can assure those who live and work in Fownhope that I will continue to press this matter in Parliament until we have the result that both my constituents and I want to see.”
Update October 2014
On Tuesday 21 October Bill had a positive meeting with the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Bill handed over the petition of over 300 signatures to the Secretary of State, who has now asked Ofcom to specifically go to Fownhope to check the strength or lack of signal rather than relying on data maps provided by the phone operators.
The decision to pay for a mast is based on signal strength. Due to state aid laws the Government can only pay for a mast if there is no signal whatsoever. However the mobile phone providers say that Fownhope gets a signal while we know that it does not.
Bill said: “Although this does not necessarily mean Fownhope mast will be approved, it is a big step in the right direction. It means that the decision on whether to proceed will be based on accurate data.”
During the meeting Bill also made the point it is unfair for someone in Fownhope, who has no signal in their home, to be paying the same amount as someone who lives in the city, and has access to 4G.
The Secretary of State is very concerned about lack of signal and “not spots”. Bill understands his Department is working to allow roaming from one provider to another to improve the situation.
Currently someone from France holidaying in Herefordshire, whose phone is set to roam (while they are abroad) may have a better mobile signal than us who live here.
Bill said: “I hope you agree that this is not fair or satisfactory”
Bill was recently shown a presentation by Arqiva about mobile signal in North Herefordshire and an application form to a pilot project being run by Vodafone to provide transmitters to boost signal locally – the deadline for applications is 7 November, 2014.
Please find below a copy of the presentation by Arqiva, the application form by Vodafone and two letters he received from Peter Wingate-Saul, National Community Relations Manager at Arqiva, and Paul Morris, Head of Government Affairs at Vodafone UK, which he hopes you find interesting.
Please find below a letter Bill received from The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, following his recent meeting.
On Tuesday 6 January Bill Wiggin MP held an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on Mobile signal in Fownhope and North Herefordshire.
Please find below a link to the debate.