Figures uncovered by local Member of Parliament Jamie Reed reveal that Copeland is one of the worst affected constituencies in the country by poor mobile data coverage. This news comes despite the unique geography of Cumbria meaning that 4G technology is essential for the local economy to compete with other parts of the country.
Mr Reed raised the issue of mobile coverage in Copeland by tabling Parliamentary Questions to the Government. Their responses revealed that Cumbria is the 9thworst area for mobile coverage in mainland England, putting it in the bottom 7% of areas in the country. The figures show that 90% of Copeland is covered by low data rate mobile coverage (2G), 61% is covered by high-speed data mobile coverage (3G), whilst 0% of the area is covered by very high-speed data mobile coverage.
The Government’s Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy states that ‘having access to quality broadband allows a business in rural Scotland, Cumbria, or Wales to compete with a business in London or Manchester’ and that 98% of premises should have access to 4G mobile broadband indoors by 2017. However, with current 0% 4G coverage Copeland is missing the important economic benefits that come with the technology.
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“The Government must act immediately to prioritise 4G coverage in Copeland.
“The fact that Copeland has no 4G coverage is unacceptable and demonstrates the Government’s complacency for the local community and economy. Clicks and bricks – digital technology and innovation, in conjunction with other key areas including transport, are key components of the infrastructure needed to create a competitive 21st century economy.
“However time and time again the Government have ignored and dismissed calls for much needed investment in infrastructure in the region. From omitting Copeland from plans for the Northern Powerhouse, to refusing to conduct a feasibility study into improving the A595. Copeland has evident potential to become a key area of economic excellence in England, but the Government must begin to recognise this and deliver the support that we need to grow.”