EXPAT residents in Limaria in Arboleas on Spain’s Costa Almeria claim the lack of mobile phone coverage in their area could put lives at risk.
“We are about 200 permanent residents, most of whom are eldery people, who need a reliable telephone connection”, Jean-Claude Pinoy told the Euro Weekly News.
There was an incident just in the last few days which is “proof that the lack of a mobile network can be life-threatening”, Jean-Claude said.
An elderly man fell while out walking. It wasn’t until after some 45 minutes that a passer-by noticed him and tried to reach the emergency services by calling 112. But they were unable to connect.
Eventually the elderly gentleman’s wife came looking for her husband and got him to a medical centre.
Jean-Claude explained the residents had several years ago filed a petition with the council to try and get the authority to address the mobile coverage issue “without consequence”, and had recently sent a registered letter to the local administration, but again got no response. But last Friday a group of around 30 Limaria residents met with the Arboleas Mayor to discuss the issue.
The Mayor told the expats the council is concerned and is looking into it.
The local authority has also now issued a sympathetic written response to the residents’ letter. In it the Mayor acknowledges that not having mobile coverage is a “major problem” for residents in their day-to-day lives, but also represents a serious issue for ambulances using geolocators to find an address, leading to possibly “tragic” situations.
The letter states that once the council was made aware of the issue the residents had had its support and that it will “continue with the processes already underway with the company to try and resolve as soon as possible this terrible problem”, which is “generating a lot of insecurity and difficulties in continuing to live legally in the place they have chosen.”
The letter ends, “the council will do everything in its hands to find a mobile coverage solution, in both Limaria and Higuerales.”
But Jean-Claude is not convinced anything will actually get done. He described the Mayor’s written answer as “vague”.
“There are no concrete plans”, he told EWN, clearly exasperated.
“The meeting ended without any concrete proposals. Most participants were therefore rightly disillusioned because there is no solution for the foreseeable future.”