Keeping everyone connected

 The Covid-19 outbreak has made us all more reliant on phone networks and internet services to keep in touch, which is why they are designated as ‘critical’ services by the Government.

It’s vital that people can keep connected especially at a time when we are being asked to stay at home and practise social distancing.

Mobile phones or landlines are particularly essential for vulnerable people who are self-isolating, and those without internet access, to get food, medicines and other support they need.

Many people are also facing financial uncertainty and the more vulnerable members of our communities may need a bit of extra help.

Hyperlink to Quick Guide to Broadband Mobile Network Offers during Covid 19

Quick Guide to Mobile Network Offers during Covid 19

The UK’’s major mobile and internet service providers have responded to this by offering a range of support for all their customers, including concessions for NHS frontline workers, the most vulnerable and people in financial hardship due to the Covid-19 situation.

Connecting Cambridgeshire, the digital connectivity programme led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is working with telecoms operators to improve broadband and mobile coverage across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and has put together a quick guide to help available from the networks.

You can find our mobile and broadband quick guide at http://www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Quick-guide-to-broadband-and-mobile-phone-offers-during-Covid-19-May-2020.pdf

Help for everyone to stay connected:

 All phone users can get free access to all NHS UK online websites with data allowances unaffected, and free calls to NHS 111 and the Non-Emergency 101 service to the Police

  • NHS frontline staff, who are existing customers, can get mobile data access, voice calls and texts at no extra cost when using their personal mobiles for work
  • Vulnerable patients can get generous data allowances to use their mobile phones for video consultations with doctors and health staff
  • People finding it difficult to pay their phone bill as a result of Covid-19 can get support if they inform their provider
  • Vulnerable people – such as those who are Shielded – can get generous mobile and landline packages to ensure they remain connected, including data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile, whether on contract or ‘pay as you go’.
  • All providers will remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.
  • Vulnerable customers or those self-isolating will receive alternative methods of communication where possible if priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines cannot be carried out

Mobile coverage for voice and data (2G and 4G services) is below the England average in all areas of the county except the main cities* causing widespread concern amongst businesses and communities across the region.
*Ofcom Connected Nations Report

The programme aims to improve network coverage so that people can make reliable mobile phone calls and use 4G across the whole geography of the county, including A and B roads, and rail services by 2022.

MobileUK has cited Connecting Cambridgeshire as a case study for how local authorities can help to improve mobile coverage by adopting a proactive approach.

Read the full report on Councils and Connectivity: How local government can help to build mobile Britain


Mobile Phone Coverage Survey Work

Cambridgeshire County Council has commissioned a technical mobile phone coverage survey in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area to inform the work of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme.

The programme aims to improve network coverage so that people can make reliable mobile phone calls and use 4G across the whole geography of the county, including A and B roads, and rail services by 2022.

The survey work, which took place during February and March 2019, involved an external company drive testing and walk testing to scan mobile coverage at a range of locations. Including A, B and C roads across the county, tourist attractions, parks, rail routes, etc.