Sunday, 27 September 2015 11:41

Scheme brings 3G to remote areas

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Scheme brings 3G to remote areas

More villages and rural areas now have reliable 3G mobile coverage thanks to a special initiative.

The latest villages connected by Vodafone's Rural Open Sure Signal scheme are High Kelling, Hillington, and Upper Sheringham, Norfolk.

    See also: Telecoms giant unveils rural campaign

Many areas of Norfolk have until now suffered from unreliable mobile coverage, slow network speeds and lack of decent fixed broadband which is needed to link together masts.

The Vodafone programme uses "femtocell" technology to bring high quality 3G voice services and much needed access to the internet via mobile devices to rural communities.

It aims to provide reliable 3G access to up to 100 rural communities in mobile not-spot locations.

Ben Wallace, local village champion at Hillington, said the scheme was good news for residents in an area where the mobile signal had been almost non-existent.

He added: "To have a mobile signal and be able to make a call is a huge step forward and to have 3G is beyond our wildest dreams.

Launched in July 2014, with support from local MPs, councils and rural action groups, the programme received an overwhelming response.

Applications were received from rural residents across the country who say mobile connectivity plays a vital role in keeping communities in touch and helping local economies.

But rural and remote locations often miss out on advantages provided by modern communication tools, due to the complexity of delivering network coverage.

Vodafone UK chief technology officer Jorge Fernandes said mobile connectivity was an essential service but getting traditional coverage to rural areas could be deeply frustrating.

But the company was determined not be beaten on rural coverage.

"This will make such a difference – not only for the people who work and live in them, but the hundreds of visitors they receive each year."

The scheme has been welcomed by local politicians.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: "This is an excellent scheme providing access to 3G voice and internet services to places in North Norfolk that have struggled with little or no connectivity."

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