EE has announced that it plans to connect more than 1,500 rural areas currently struggling with little or no access to high-speed broadband.
The aim is to make use of micro network technology, which will facilitate the connection of small mobile antennas to different macro sites. This technology will provide coverage for voice, 3G and 4G services from the start of 2015, with the roll-out completed by the end of 2017. Three or four antennas can cover an area of half a mile and up to 150 properties, it only takes an hour or two for the antennas to be installed, and there is no need for planning permission.
EE and other providers have spoken out against national roaming proposals in regions where there are poor or few signals. The introduction of micro network technology will allow the connection of more rural areas without the need for additional regulation for mobile service providers. The new technology can also be installed at a fairly low cost when compared to other more traditional network technology. It is expected that the first installations will take place in the Cumbrian village of Sebergham.
The CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee, has called the new technology “innovative” and estimates that it will available be in more than 1,500 locations by 2017.
EE has been working with the UK government on plans to bring more voice coverage to rural areas of the UK and believes that this is a significant step forward in reaching the goals that have been set.