The BCC quizzed over 1,400 businesses and discovered that 70% of firms often experience mobile coverage ‘not-spots’. Many have been impeded by a complete lack of mobile coverage, and some experience ‘partial not-spots’, in which coverage is available from only a handful of networks.
Those businesses situated in rural areas were found to be more likely to experience ‘not-spots’ as opposed to those within inner city locations. 54% of businesses in rural areas and 29% of firms in cities reported that they have unreliable mobile internet connections.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘All across the country businesspeople complain about patchy mobile coverage and unreliable internet connections in their local areas.
‘Rural businesses are particularly affected by poor mobile coverage and connectivity, but our research shows that ‘not-spots’ are prevalent across the UK. Some of the solutions are obvious. Relaxing planning laws to allow for taller masts would be a quick win for the next government to help improve mobile coverage.’
In response to the BCC’s survey, communications regulator Ofcom stated that almost all UK businesses ‘must receive a 4G signal by the end of 2017’.
A spokesperson for Ofcom commented: ‘We agree that mobile coverage must improve and understand the importance of having reliable mobile broadband, wherever people live and work.
‘We’re also making available valuable new airwaves to boost mobile broadband, and have challenged mobile operators to explore how to reach all remote areas and transport lines.’
Meanwhile, data published separately by consumer group Which? found that individuals across the UK are experiencing a variety of download speeds and 4G access. According to the research, the average overall 4G availability across the country is 65%, meaning that 4G users are only able to access networks two-thirds of the time.