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'Totally unacceptable' delays to phone mast becoming operational - Norfolk MP tells Parliament

Norman Lamb MP has spoken in Parliament about phone signal problems in North Walsham. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Norman Lamb MP has spoken in Parliament about phone signal problems in North Walsham. Picture: Sonya Duncan

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A Norfolk MP said in Parliament that long delays to a telecommunications mast becoming operational in North Walsham was "totally unacceptable".

But the issue could soon be resolved as phone operator, Openreach said it would start work on site next week.

Many people in the Brick Kiln Road and Spa Common areas of the town have had to deal with virtually no mobile phone signal due to the hold-up.

Constituents first contacted North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb’s office in 2013.

He said that some people have been unable to receive updates on appointments for doctors’ surgeries, small business owners have been unable to contact clients and, in the most serious and alarming circumstances, sufferers of long-term illnesses have been unable to seek emergency medical assistance.

Mr Lamb has repeatedly pursued the issue since the mast was erected in November 2017, and said last year that, should there not be a quick resolution, he would raise the issue in Parliament.

On March 7, Mr Lamb delivered on his promise and raised the issue in Digital, Media, Culture and Sport questions with the Minister Margot James MP. He said: “It is totally unacceptable that people living on the Brick Kiln Estate and in the Spa Common area in North Walsham have faced limited, in some cases, no phone signal for this length of time. It just isn’t good enough.

“To add to their frustration a mast was erected over a year ago but is still not connected.

“Despite constant pressure on Openreach to get this issue sorted, we still don’t have a defined end date.

“Now, at last, progress is being made with an application to the highways department for the necessary work to be completed.”

A spokesperson for Openreach said: “We are really sorry this is taking so long to sort out and understand the frustrations of the local MP and the constituents he represents.

“We are making progress, and our engineers will be starting work to install underground ducting that will carry the required fibre cable on Monday, March 11. This work is expected to take around 10 days and we should then be able to provide an accurate completion date.”

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