Beget (Girona) already has mobile coverage. Despite being one of the most touristic spots in Ripollès due to its medieval heritage, they still did not have a mobile signal. "It is a historical claim, many residents and tourists asked for it," explains the Camprodon Councilor for Communication, Joan Sarria. The arrival of Vodafone has put an end to a long claim.
However, an important part of the neighbors continue without noticing it because they do not have this company and they live with resignation. "It will be ten or twelve years that the issue of coverage is planning," explains Xavi Payan, a neighbor. Like him, many try to lead a normal life with the help of fiber, but there are procedures that are odysseys, such as carrying out procedures with the administration by SMS or receiving packages.
Living in a small town without mobile coverage is unusual in a hyperconnected society. This was the case of Beget and four other dispersed nuclei of Camprodon - Rocabruna, Bolós, Salarsa and a sector of Font Rubí -, until this August, when they ceased to be dark areas.
Some neighbors admit that they have received the arrival of Vodafone with a certain disbelief and with the feeling that it should have happened many years ago. "In the town there is a sign that informs that the antenna is being installed so that there is coverage in Beget and if you look at the date it is 2016," explains Annabel, a neighbor of Beget. She remembers that she knew that she already had telephone coverage when a friend - Beget's only friend with Vodafone - came to her telling her that she already had coverage. "It was a surprise," she remembers.
Annabel, along with Willy, have been open a bakery for bread, sweets and elaborated products for a year. Not being from Vodafone, they still do not have telephony, although they have put up a Wi-Fi network as an alternative, they still have deficiencies.
"The main headache is the orders with the suppliers," he admits. If it is already difficult for them to go down to Beget -it is a narrow winding road-, if you do not answer the call, they often have to "guess" where the packages have been left, if at the Camprodon Post Office or at a gas station, for example.
The other handicap is the SMS messages from the administration: "You have to leave town, carry out the procedure at a coverage point." However, I would not change living elsewhere: "you have to give up things but you gain many others, such as an enormous quality of life."
The one who would not give up now that he has taken the step is Xavi Payan. With the confinement by Covid-19, he decided to make the second residence his place of life and he is delighted. Wi-Fi has also been installed for teleworking as a producer of tours and festivals and still does not receive a mobile signal.
"It will be ten or twelve years since the issue of coverage is planning, they always say February, February will come...", he explains. "I am with Movistar and I had understood that it would be the first to provide service, but no, and we still do not receive calls," she remarks. However, she has taken it philosophically: "I'm used to it and I've turned it around, at home it's time to connect and outside, I'm free." And he admits that those who suffer the most are his co-workers, but that they have already found a way. In fact,
Most visitors are not in the case of the situation in Beget. Amadeu from Granollers, who has come to spend the morning, assures that he has no problems with coverage because he receives a Vodafone signal. "I'm on vacation but my cell phone won't stop beeping because work emails are coming in. I have no problems and I've been able to call too," he details. "It is a very small and well-hidden town and I have been able to pay with a card and everything is fine," and nothing has made him think that it was a dark coverage area.
Others, however, did not understand how it could be that it was not the telephone. This is the case of Pep, who has come from Arenys de Munt. It's been a few years since he spent a few days in Beget and this summer he wanted to return. He has tried to make a call without success to reserve a table at Camprodon in a few hours. "There is no way," and he adds that he hopes to at least be able to talk on WhatsApp and that the management will make him his daughter.
Camprodon has been claiming for nearly 15 years to have mobile coverage in these five most remote areas to be like the rest of Catalonia. Since 2009 there was a project to build the communications tower at Col de Bucs, in Montagut and Oix - near the center of Sant Miquel de Pera - but a few years later and in the midst of the crisis, the Generalitat backed out. due to lack of resources, something that outraged the residents of the municipality. Different municipal government teams worked to overcome the lack of supports. Finally, the tower is being built with the city council as the promoter on a private estate in Serrat dels Boixos, in Montaguti and Oix, and in 2019 it was finally a reality. Until an operator arrived interested in installing the antenna, however, they have not been able to start receiving a mobile phone signal.
The Camprodon Councilor for Communication, Joan Sarria, celebrates that there is finally an operator: "It was a historic claim, many residents and tourists asked for it." He explains that they hope there will now be a "domino effect" with the arrival of new operators. According to the councilor, they have a commitment from Movistar "that it can be installed in a short period of time, but there are no set deadlines," he points out.
And the main obstacle has been to "convince" the telephone companies that the "profitability" in the area went beyond providing service to the 200 residents. "It is one of the most frequented hiking and cycling areas as it is Alta Garrotxa," he explains. According to the councilor, this means that when a hiker is lost or someone calls them that they cannot contact a family member, they must go 'on site' to find out what happened. Starting to have mobile coverage in a good part of the area will also improve security, although, as the councilor points out, many visitors may wish to be isolated during the holiday period to enjoy this idyllic area.