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Farron Backs Bill To Strengthen Consumer Power Against Mobile Providers

February 3, 2016 12:42 PM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has given his backing to a bill to give customers more power against mobile phone network providers.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP introduced the bill in parliament on Tuesday, which aims to give customers more power against network providers and improve coverage in rural areas. The bill called for companies to be fined for not providing adequate network coverage, and would also give consumers the right to break contracts with mobile phone companies if network coverage in their area is not sufficient.

Mr Carmichael's Mobile Telecommunications Network Coverage (Contractual Obligations) Bill was passed unopposed and will now progress to its second reading.

The Government signed a deal with the Big Four mobile phone companies to provide network coverage to 85 per cent of the UK by 2017.

Tim said: "Good mobile phone signal is critical, both for residents and businesses. Too many rural communities are treated as second class citizens, with no power to stand up to mobile phone providers which provide an inadequate service. This bill would help to redress that balance, and would encourage the companies to ensure that they provide a decent level of phone signal everywhere, rather than just in urban centres.

"South Lakeland is full of entrepreneurial individuals, yet there are some rural areas in which businesses cannot set up because they lack even the most basic infrastructure such as a decent phone signal. If firms cannot reliably communicate with their customers, they will not set up or invest in rural areas and the jobs they would have supported will be lost.

"Improving mobile phone coverage must be an urgent priority for the government. It would not only help to provide residents with a basic service, but would boost the local economy."