One Time Passwords are here and without them you cannot pay for things on line or do things like on line banking. Everybody agrees that they help to secure payments but if you live in a rural area with poor mobile coverage they can be a severe barrier to carrying out simple day to day tasks. Either you jump through hoops to use alternatives such as a landline call or an e-mail or you are denied access to something that people in towns take for granted.
Cllr Keith Mycock understands the difficulties only too well and he has been persevering with the mobile phone companies over the last couple of years (yes, years) on behalf of the Parish Council. Slowly he is making progress.
Most recently he has been working with the Diocese of Lichfield on using St Peter’s Church as a way of improving connectivity. Although the process of gaining permission for use of Adderley Church Tower for a mobile mast from the Lichfield Diocesan Committee took a long time it was finally approved. We are very grateful for the support of the PCC in taking this forwards. Following its approval a structural and safety survey was carried out with positive conclusions and is available on request. The Adderley Church Council is enthusiastic to progress this issue with any interested mobile signal provider and await any inquiries.
Always keeping an eye on developments Cllr Mycock noticed on article (dated July 2019) claiming that the major mobile phone companies recently drafted proposals for a ‘single rural network’ for 4G implementation which would mean operators sharing masts on a reciprocal basis and forming a new company to build joint masts in rural areas. With the offer from the local Church Council in mind Cllr Mycock believed that such a proposal was timely and it would be a great pity if such an offer was ignored, particularly after all the effort that has been put into gaining permission. So he sent the information regarding the Church Tower onto the relevant teams to take into consideration for any future plans.
Vodafone got back in touch to say that they are currently working closely with the other mobile network operators, Government and Ofcom to develop a proposal to deliver improved coverage across all operators in those hardest to reach areas. This proposed programme, the Shared Rural Network, aims to significantly reduce partial not spots (those areas where there is already presence from at least one operator) and provide increased coverage to areas where there is currently no coverage. For remote rural communities this would deliver a significant improvement in mobile coverage for consumers and business in the most cost effective, efficient, timely and environmentally friendly way. Vodafone promised to keep Cllr Mycock updated on the progress of the shared rural network programme.
It’s not happening yet but thanks to a lot of persistence it’s closer than it has been for some time.