Tackling the digital divide

Some helpful tips and advice to help tackle poor mobile phone signal and slow broadband in rural areas.

Phone signal

Quick tips to improve your phone signal

1. Ensure your battery is charged

  • The stronger your battery the more chance your phone will be able to find signal
  • Purchase a car charger or charging cradle for your car

Phone signal

Quick tips to improve your phone signal

2. Stand up your phone

  • Mobile phones are designed to work best upright
  • Put your phone in a desk holder or phone cradle in your car

Phone signal

Quick tips to improve your phone signal

3. Refresh your phone

  • Turn your phone on and off
  • Or toggle on and off airplane mode (iPhone)
  • This disconnects and reconnects you to your network like a phone signal reboot

Phone signal

Quick tips to improve your phone signal

4. Damaged device

  • A dropped or damaged device could be damaged internally, effecting your phone signal
  • If your SIM card is older than 3 years change it as it could be out of date or damaged

Phone signal

Quick tips to improve your phone signal

Don't forget...

  • Check you are on the best network for your area
  • Is your mobile 3G and 4G compatible? You may be missing out on new coverage as it becomes available in your area, as enhanced 3G and the latest 4G rolls out over the coming months.
  • Some modern smartphones perform better than others for signal quality. To find out about the best performing handsets, speak to the telecoms team at Anglia Farmers for advice on 01603 881 881.

How do I find out which network is best in my area?

Use the OFCOM coverage checker which combines signal level predictions provided by Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three with their own coverage testing in locations around the UK.

All of the networks produce coverage maps which should help you decide which will be best for where you live and work.

You can now have a dual SIM phone which allows the user to be on two different networks at the same time. This will give the user the best available signal wherever you go. You will be able to receive calls on either SIM/network at any time. There are a range of dual SIM handsets on the market.

These dual SIM phones are offered by many manufacturers including the HTC One dual SIM phone, the Sony Experia M2 Dual, the LG Optimus L7 and a new range from Kazam.

Two networks may be better than one

Solutions from your current network


Signal Box

A box that plugs into your home broadband to provide indoor 3G coverage within 15metres of the box.

Signal Boost on Orange

This downloadable app allows Orange customers to connect to the EE network through their home Wi-Fi for coverage indoors.

Solutions from your current network


Sure Signal

Improves phone signal through your broadband connection. Giving you 3G connections for up to 8 mobile phones in your home or office. 4MB download speed is required.

Vodafone commercial signal solutions

Flexible and bespoke in-building coverage solutions designed to overcome a wide range of signal challenges across sites of all sizes. These include Sure Signal Plus, Sure Signal Premium, Cell Enhancers, Pico and Macro Cells.

Solutions from your current network


Rural Open Sure Signal

A larger version of Sure Signal specifically designed for rural communities suffering from blackspots in mobile coverage. Allows any user in its range to automatically connect.

Solutions from your current network



Gives you 3G coverage in your home or office by connecting to your broadband.

O2 Pocket Hotspot

Carry around internet with you wherever you go.

TU Go app

Ring or text anyone on any network using Wi-Fi connection on your phone.

CoverageMap app from Root Metrics

This app measures your mobile network performance at the push of a button and gives immediate feedback on what sort of service you are getting. As well as this you’ll be able to view a map of call performance in your current location. Most importantly, your results are then combined with readings from others in your area to create a map showing which mobile operator is best near you as well as highlighting poor network areas.

Broadband connection

Poor and slow broadband is a problem for both homes and businesses in rural areas.

Quick tips to speed you up your home broadband

Check with your provider that you have enough data allowance

  • Going over your data allowance might slow down your broadband

Update your web browser to the latest version

  • Or try changing your browser to another such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox
  • Make sure you have the latest anti-virus software and check that you don't have any viruses

There are many online websites that will test your download speed and also help you out with picking the best provide for your area.

Uswitch collect download speed data from home broadband users and put onto a map. You can see what provider and speed people are getting from their broadband near you by visiting the Uswitch website.

What is the best home broadband provider for me?

Business grade broadband

For businesses, reliable and fast online connectivity is a necessity. Business grade broadband solutions provide:

  • Better levels of support 24/7
  • Business traffic is prioritised over residential users, so speeds won’t be affected during peak times
  • Unlimited usage
  • Future proof (to cater for Cloud based technologies such as VoIP) and flexibility that allows you to scale as your business grows

Other broadband solutions


Throughout the country there are WISP (wireless internet service provider) schemes aimed at rural areas that have difficulty getting internet connection in their homes and businesses. You can be connected to broadband wirelessly through a number of masts in your area.

ThinkingWISP covers Norfolk / Suffolk / Cambridgeshire, vFast Internet covers Kent, County Broadband covers North Essex and Suffolk, Cambs Wireless covers East and North Cambridgeshire, Fibre Wifi covers Essex and Wispire covers Norfolk.

Other broadband solutions


Satellite broadband allows for an internet connection without the requirement for a phone line.

Satellite providers in the east of England include Tooway internet broadband and Avonline Broadband (in partnership with the NFU).