THE new year will see phone users in Fownhope be able to put years of poor signal and slow network speeds behind them, with a Vodaphone offering a 3G boost for the area.

A perennial victim of unreliable mobile phone coverage, Fownhope will soon join Ewyas Harold as a beneficiary of the company’s Open Sure Signal technology – which targets rural ‘not-spots’.

While the village continues its fight for a new mast to provide better reception, this technology – which goes live in 2015 – will help residents access the internet.

Today Fownhope was named as one of the communities where Vodaphone will improve 3G signal, with Ewyas Harold part of the first wave earlier this year.

The company’s UK chief executive, Jeroen Hoencamp, said: “I am delighted Fownhope has been named as one of our 100 communities and I’m excited about the transformation this pioneering programme should bring to the community.

“We are committed to investing hugely in our network – and using innovative technologies to provide coverage to rural communities means we can reach areas where it’s been impossible to reach using traditional means.”

In those communities that have already been helped by the scheme – from Ewyas Harold residents to mussel farmers in the Shetlands – Mr Hoencamp said life has improved markedly.

The improved access to mobile internet has helped businesses, as well as access to day-to-day services like making appointments with doctors, or keeping in friends and family through social network apps.

Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, announced earlier this month that there will be a consultation for a phone mast for Fownhope, following a campaign by residents featured in the Hereford Times in July.

Councillor Kevin Braybrook told the paper the village was in “desperate need” of better coverage.

He was part of a community team that shortlisted possible sites for a mast and organised a petition, which Bill Wiggin MP took to Mr Javid, prompting the consultation.

For more information on Vodaphone’s programme targeting rural not-spots, visit