Norfolk MP’s ultimatum to phone company over long-delayed mast

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb surveyed constituents about NHS services in the area. Picture: DENISE B

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb surveyed constituents about NHS services in the area. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A Norfolk MP will hold a phone operator to account if a long-delayed telecommunications mast is not operational by January.

Eric Seward. Picture: library

Eric Seward. Picture: library

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, and Eric Seward, Liberal Democrat county councillor for North Walsham East, met BT Openreach last week to discuss the North Walsham mast.

It will provide better mobile phone signal to the Brick Kiln, Marshgate and Spa Common areas.

North Norfolk District Council gave consent in June 2017 and it was supposed to go operational in December last year.

However, it has faced delays while BT Openreach, which controls the Anglian Water sewage works site where the mast is being built, waits for network fibre cabling to be delivered by its supplier.

At the meeting, BT Openreach apologised for the delay and confirmed the mast should be operational by January.

Mr Lamb said: 'We have now been waiting for over a year after it was initially due to go live. We understand there is a change of the connection being made before the end of the year.

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'I'm determined to get this unacceptable situation sorted out without further long delay, and made it clear I will be raising my frustrations in Parliament by January if we have not got the connection made by then. We will keep residents informed.'

Mr Seward said: 'It is now imperative that BT Openreach sorts out the outstanding problems over connecting the mast to the network as quickly as possible. Residents have been waiting far too long for a good mobile phone signal.'

An Openreach spokesperson said: 'We are continuing to do everything we can to finally sort this issue with providing a new fibre cable to the mast.

'We understand how frustrating it is, and we've recently provided an update to local politicians outlining the latest position.

'It's taken longer than we'd hoped due to difficulties obtaining permission that would allow us to work on adjacent private land. We need this to enable our engineers to lay a new cable. We are making progress and we hope to be able to provide positive news in the coming weeks.'