Subscribe For Free

MPs set to discuss “NotSpots” in mobile coverage debate

James Pearce
October 12, 2015

House of Commons will discuss mobile and broadband rollout across UK in three hour debate

MPs will debate mobile Notspots today as part of a House of Commons debate over the rollout mobile and broadband coverage in the UK.

The three hour debate will look at issues including fibre vs cable, 3G and 4G and “Notspots” – the term coined to identify areas with no mobile coverage whatsoever,

The debate has been brought by former Daily Telegraph technology correspondent Matt Warman, who is now Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness. “The motion before the House notes variations in the effectiveness of superfast broadband and calls on the government to host a “not-spot summit,” Warman told the BBC.

Devicescape CEO Dave Fraser said the debate highlights the challenges mobile operators face in trying to achieve ubiquitous coverage.

“Their problems are not restricted to remote and rural areas,” he added. “There are numerous total or partial notspots in urban environments as well, thanks to densely packed buildings that obstruct the cellular signal, making indoor coverage arguably the sternest network challenge with which mobile operators must contend.

“In the UK, free amenity Wi-Fi of the kind offered by numerous consumer facing businesses and premises owners has become a significant connectivity resource, delivering essential backup when the cellular network struggles to deliver optimum performance indoors. The businesses that make it available to their customers have, as a result, become important connectivity providers in their own right.”

Notspot deal

In a deal struck in December last year, the four major mobile operators – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three – agreed to invest £5 billion between them in a deal with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to bring 90 per cent  geographic coverage to the UK by 2017.

In turn, the government ditched plans to allow users to roam on to another network in areas where they had no signal.

Coham Wireless SVP Ian Langley said Notspots are not just a major issue in rural areas, adding that a large number of urban areas struggle for consistent coverage.

He explained:  “Getting a high-bandwidth cellular service indoors has always been challenging with building materials old and new blocking signals from outside. With the increased reliance of mobile devices to access broadband services, this has become a critical problem for businesses owners and mobile operators alike, as they look to provide the best level of broadband coverage possible.

“Coverage and capacity enhancement solutions designed to solve this issue already exist, but it is still unclear who should pay for them. What the UK needs is collaboration between legislators, operators and facilities managers to ensure a coherent strategy is put in place to solve the notspot issue once and for all.”

Share this article