Fight is on to rescue Ribble Valley village from its 'dead zone' mobile phone coverage

A Ribble Valley village, described as a "dead zone" for mobile phone coverage, is still feeling disconnected, nearly a year after a new mast was erected.

The long-running issue for Sabden residents has now been taken up by Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans after local councillors could not get through to the providers.

Mr Evans has contacted the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, to provide answers to the poor mobile connection in Sabden.

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Clarke Telecom, a Manchester based provider of 4G mast technology, built the new mobile phone mast last Autumn, but the mast is still not live.

When pushed by local residents and Coun. Ricky Newmark the four partners involved in the project, Clarke Telecoms, Vodafone, O2 and Cornerstone Consultants, have unable to answer simple questions posed about when the mast will be functional.

Mr Evans said: “Nobody is being informed of why the mast is still switched off. Vodafone and O2 have continued to kick the can down the road and have provided feeble answers to the serious questions posed by local councillor Ricky Newmark, simply stating that ‘work has to be completed on all our masts’ does not wash.

"I am growing concerned that with emphasis on the national 5G rollout, Sabden is getting left behind and forgotten about.

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“I am utterly frustrated that after almost a year the mast has not been switched on. This mast is needed to serve the 1,500 residents of Sabden, some of whom have been relying on a landline to run their business or work from home – it is completely unacceptable.”

Coun. Newmark added: “I felt the 2 Mobile Mast Partners were engaging in mushroom management. We’re none the wiser. It’s absolutely unacceptable that some of the leading-edge technology companies in the country are unable to switch on a mobile phone mast.

“I discovered that there are currently over 1,780 mobile phone masts across the country waiting to be switched on, many in rural locations”.

Senior representatives of Vodafone have promised to investigate the issues in the days since Nigel contacted Jeremy Wright.

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