At the next Parish Council Meeting on Monday 5th February there will be an update following a meeting with mobile operators and Damian Collins.

Here is the previous report for information:

Reproduced by kind permission of Mr Andrew Joynes

Mobile Phones Update

Earlier this year a group of Elham residents who are dissatisfied with the quality of the mobile phone signal in Elham asked the local MP Damian Collins for help in arranging a meeting with Arqiva, the mast infrastructure company, and representatives of the mobile phone companies to discuss how the signal might be improved. Damian Collins is Chair of the parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which oversees telecommunications matters.

After protracted correspondence, the group are now in touch with senior officials at Arqiva, EE, and O2 (with Vodafone still being chased for a response). It is hoped that a meeting can be set up soon under Damian Collins’s aegis following the publication in the next fortnight of an Ofcom report on the quality of the mobile signal in every part of the UK. The report is likely to highlight areas (such as Elham perhaps) where the signal is not as good as the operating companies claim it is. As a consequence the companies will be under increasing pressure to respond to local concerns.

At the meeting the residents’ group will be suggesting various options to be explored by the companies and their engineers. These include the possibility of modifying an existing Arqiva television relay mast situated to the north of the village (with line of sight to most parts of Elham) so that it can carry the frequencies of the main mobile companies; and, subject to the approval of the PCC, perhaps looking again at the feasibility of some kind of unobtrusive relay/booster being situated within St Mary’s church spire. This idea was discussed over a decade ago, but not taken up at that time.

Mobile phones have become an essential part of modern life. For reasons of social and employment necessity – and indeed for reasons of public safety and the welfare of elderly residents – a good-quality general signal is required in the streets, playgrounds and residential areas of Elham village. It is hoped that this community initiative, undertaken with the support of the local MP and KCC councillor, and with the involvement of Parish Council and PCC representatives, will eventually persuade the telecommunications establishment to take Elham’s concerns seriously.

Andrew Joynes
01303 840162