Marcus Mason, Head of Business, Education and Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), comments on the publication of the government’s Digital Strategy
BCC launches ‘No More Not Spots’ campaign
Today (Tuesday) the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) launches its campaign for ‘No More Not Spots’, with the aim of ending not spots for voice coverage where UK phone users live, work, travel and play.
The UK’s leading business group is launching a campaign that will bring together business communities and those involved in delivering coverage to identify coverage challenges and work through solutions to improve poor mobile coverage.
Not spots, and areas of partial not spots hamper UK businesses. A recent survey by the BCC of over 1,400 companies, found that a fifth (21%) of firms say the UK mobile phone network doesn’t meet their needs in accessing new and existing customers, suppliers and employees.
Despite welcome investment in geographic coverage for voice and text, not spots still exist, even in dense commercial centres, road and rail corridors where access issues, the built environment, and the economics of new infrastructure can combine to weaken coverage and frustrate network rollout.
The campaign will mobilise Chamber member businesses and wider local communities to identify and report gaps in coverage to the BCC. It will bring together all those involved in delivering coverage with local business communities to identify priorities for action.
The campaign is part of the BCC’s wider call for a greater focus on ‘fixing the fundamentals’ of the UK business environment to remove barriers to growth.
Launching the campaign at DP World London Gateway, a sea port and logistics hub, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“A reliable mobile phone signal is one of the most basic requirements for any business, as more and more conversations and transactions take place while people are on the go. Unfortunately, dropped calls and poor signal remains an issue in many areas across the UK.
“From today, we’ll be campaigning for an end to mobile phone ‘not spots’ all across the UK, so that businesspeople can connect to customers, suppliers and staff – and so that local communities can better connect, too.
“Our campaign will be constructive and focused on solutions. While we’ll press for investment and services improvements, we’ll work with mobile operators and all parties with a stake in getting this right across the UK. Working together, business, communities and operators can identify key gaps in coverage and find shared solutions to resolve the real-world connection problems many business communities face.
“Our message to all businesses is simple: share and report mobile not spots – so that together we can take action to improve reliable coverage for the future. The UK’s future prosperity depends on getting the fundamentals right here at home – and a push for reliable, dependable and consistently improving mobile connectivity is the perfect place to start.”
Businesses in all parts of the country report being held back by not-spots in their area, including:
Scott Roberts, Chairman of Polar Technology in Oxfordshire, said:
“We can hardly get a signal in the office or factory, and in almost every direction for 20 miles the signal is so weak it drops out during a call. This is destroying our productivity as we rely on mobile phones to communicate and gets things done, especially when our management teams are on the move.”
Justin Everley, Managing Director of Surf Snowdonia, an artificial wave lagoon in North Wales, said:
“Mobile coverage continues to be unreliable in our area, and no one in business likes unreliability. Poor coverage can mean missed bookings if customers can’t get through to us. Visitors to the region may also need to rely on mobile phone signal to navigate to us, if they get lost and want to make a call, they can be stuck with no coverage.”