EE is committing to connect more than 1,500 rural communities within three years by investing in a unique micro network technology that provides coverage to remote areas with no need for broadband or cables.
Starting in early 2015, EE will be making voice services, as well as 3G and 4G mobile data coverage available in communities that currently don’t have reliable mobile or high speed broadband. These areas have remained unconnected by traditional approaches to network deployment that have relied on building large masts.
To cover these communities, EE will build new micro networks that wirelessly connect small mobile antennas to a suitable nearby macro site, without the need for cabling, dramatically improving the economics of connecting hard to reach areas.
The first community to be connected through trials of the new micro network technology is the small village of Sebergham, in Cumbria. Sebergham has 129 dwellings and 347 residents, and sits in a deep valley.
Cumbria County Councillor, Duncan Fairbairn, said:
“The mobile service here is either non-existent or spasmodic at best. And the broadband is incredibly slow and very unreliable. In rural communities like Sebergham, being connected to good, reliable mobile coverage can make a significant difference to everyday life and we need fast broadband. We’re delighted to be the first community in the UK to benefit from this EE initiative, and there are more villages in my parish that I know will benefit hugely from this, and they’re excited to be connected next.”
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said “With this innovative new technology, we have the capability to connect every community in the UK, and we estimate that we’ll be able to bring reliable voice coverage and high speed mobile broadband to more than 1,500 places for the first time by 2017.
“We’ve been working closely with Government on the long-term ambition to bring voice coverage to more of the UK, and we believe that this world-first technology will demonstrate significant advancements against that vision.”