Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert met local members of the Country Land and Business Association at Westminster last week (12 June) to give his backing to their campaign for better mobile coverage in rural areas.
Mr Herbert attended a reception at the House of Commons organised by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) where he spoke to members including Sir Sebastian Anstruther of the Barlavington Estate.
The CLA and MPs have pressed the Digital Secretary, Matthew Hancock, for action to speed up and improve the rollout of 4G in rural areas. In May, the CLA also called on Ofcom to challenge mobile network operators to improve rural signal coverage.
The CLA represents over 30,000 landowners, farmers and businesses and is supporting them in securing a decent digital service which is vital for their day-to-day operations. The Association believes that mobile network operators are ignoring the needs of rural areas, and that the rural economy is under-performing because of lack of investment in this area.
Mr Herbert has been a champion of rural digital connectivity and has given his full backing to the ‘#4G For All’ campaign. The MP hosted a ‘Digital Access Summit’ in November 2015 to improve the rollout of superfast broadband and to close the ‘digital divide’.
Sir Sebastian Anstruther, Chairman of the CLA Sussex Branch Committee, said: “I am delighted to support the CLA’s 4G for All campaign, as it’s a vitally important message. Having fast, reliable 4G isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential daily tool for rural businesses and landowners.
“There is still a long way to go before rural areas enjoy the same coverage as some urban areas, which is why the CLA’s campaign is so important. It’s encouraging to receive the enthusiastic support of Nick Herbert.”
Nick Herbert said: “I am right behind the CLA’s campaign to secure a faster and broader rollout of 4G coverage. Today’s rural businesses need fast mobile broadband. We need to speed up the rollout and deliver the widest possible coverage.”