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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Community encouraged to help tackle mobile not-spots

Assembly Member Ken Skates is encouraging community groups to apply for help to tackle mobile phone ‘not-spots’ in Clwyd South.

The Welsh Labour AM has been pushing the UK’s major mobile operators for a commitment to improving coverage in his constituency, and is backing a new Vodafone scheme to give indoor mobile coverage to up to 100 rural hubs.

Mr Skates (pictured) said: “I am continuing to campaign for better mobile phone coverage in Wrexham and the Dee Valley and have repeatedly raised concerns with companies about signal loss in our communities. I’ve also lobbied the UK Government, who are responsible for enforcing operators' obligations.”

The Vodafone programme will see pubs, village halls and shops in areas with weak and unreliable signals get better connected to their communities.

The company’s senior government affairs advisor, Graham Dunn, said: “The Community Indoor Sure Signal (CISS) programme is designed to provide reliable indoor 3G voice and data coverage and will be open to 100 rural community hubs. The scheme compliments our expected investment of £2bn over the next three years on improving our network and services across the UK.

“Following a successful pilot, we’re now calling for applications from rural community centres such as independent or community-run pubs and shops, village halls, Scout huts and doctors’ surgeries that do not currently have reliable mobile coverage.”

Mr Skates added: “We have some way to go in improving mobile reception in Clwyd South, and I will continue to press the UK Government to act. I’m also in the process of arranging meetings with operators to see what more can be done, and continue to campaign for improved broadband for our rural communities.

“In the meantime, I would certainly urge community groups to find out more about this Vodafone scheme and get their applications in.”

Successful applicants, who must be the broadband bill payer, will need an unlimited broadband package with download speeds of at least 4Mbps and upload speeds of 2Mbps and a domestic plug-in power point. The CISS unit plugs into a standard broadband router to provide mobile coverage throughout a building.

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