Shropshire callers urged to report on mobile phone signals

People living in rural areas across Shropshire and Mid Wales have been asked to become phone detectives this summer to help map the real reception rates across the UK.

The Countryside Alliance is searching for evidence to ensure that people living in the countryside are not forgotten by mobile phone companies and that they benefit from the Government's £150m mobile phone infrastructure project.

The call comes after it was claimed students at Harper Adams University in Shropshire only have reliable access to Orange.

The Countryside Alliance is asking people to download the free RootMetrics application onto their smartphone or tablet and use it while they are at home as well as while they are out and about.

The app tests the strength of their signal and automatically records the result.

People can also use it to check which company provides the best service in each area.

The information will be used to lobby phone companies and the government to improve rural reception.

Harper Adams University, at Edgmond, is just two-and- a-half miles from the centre of Newport, 15 miles from Stafford and only 10 miles from Telford – which has been feted for some of the fastest broadband connections in the country.

Harper Adams students with other service providers may as well turn their phones off as they are in a completely dead zone, said student Marek Hammond.

He said: "We have to warn new students. I think you'd be pretty peeved if you signed up to year's contract before starting at Harper Adams and then realised you had no signal.

"We have good Orange coverage and you can just about get a Vodafone signal in some places on campus but other than that, forget it."

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said rates of phone coverage quoted by companies is based on a "best case scenario".

He added: "We all know how much phone reception can vary in the countryside and feel households and businesses based there are at a disadvantage."

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