North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has called for better mobile phone coverage for Dervock.
Speaking at Oral Question time to DETI Minister Arlene Foster in the Northern Ireland Assembly Mr. Storey said:
“In looking at mobile phone coverage issues, will the Minister take into particular consideration areas in Northern Ireland that have absolutely no coverage and have become black spots?
“I am thinking in particular of one area in my constituency, Dervock, where, when you enter the village, your mobile phone reception disappears.
“I welcome what the Minister did on the superfast broadband for rural communities, but will she now give an assurance that she will go back to the providers and continue to put pressure on them to deliver a service for the benefit of our constituents?”
Responding the Minister said:
“I understand that the target for 4G across the UK is 95%, but that will not help people in Dervock because that target can be reached just by looking at higher-density population areas.
“In the telecoms action plan for the coming years, we need to push Ofcom and get that issue resolved and then see where infill solutions are needed, in the way that we have done with broadband. There is a need to do that for mobile, particularly with 4G, which will allow fast data to be processed in a way that it is not at present.”
Speaking afterwards Mr. Storey said: “I want to welcome to general outline support given by the Minister for the need to provide a proper level of coverage for rural areas like Dervock. This is an ongoing cause of concern for local residents in that it can affect business and also can be a source of worry for parents who find it difficult to keep contact with young people.”
“This needs to be addressed and I shall continue to press for a fitting level of provision.”
There has also been complaints about the poor phone reception for mobiles in Stranocum.
It’s virtually impossible to get a reception in most parts of the village which has led to many not even bothering to buy a mobile.
One resident said: “We have a new community association building and when people come here they’ll be unable to use a mobile telephone.
“You pay a lot of money for a mobile service so you would expect companies to put up receivers to give some sort of decent service.”
The resident urged Mervyn Storey to take up the case of Stranocum residents as well as that of people in the Dervock area.