4G Network could help deliver superfast broadband to rural communities


North East MSP Mike Rumbles is calling on the Scottish Government to replicate a new 4G internet technology trialled by EE, that could see thousands of homes in rural Scotland connected to superfast broadband.

EE, part of the BT Group, installed routers along with an external antenna to connect to its 4G network and recorded internet speeds over 100Mbps in Cumbria. The scheme has been designed specifically as an alternative for those in rural communities that have yet to be connected with traditional fixed line broadband access.

EE's 4G network covers 90% of the UK's landmass and the company said there are 80,000 rural homes in Scotland which could benefit from the solution.

Mr Rumbles said: “Despite seven years of promises, the Scottish Government’s progress developing the superfast network in rural areas has been glacial. This new aerial technology developed by EE could be the solution many rural communities have been waiting for.

“Many homes in Aberdeenshire, for example, still experience speeds of 2 megabits per second or less and the evidence of work carried out so far is anything but encouraging. Improving that appalling figure is essential if we want to attract new businesses and grow our rural economy.  

“The Scottish Government only have until 2021 to deliver their promise of 100 percent coverage of superfast broadband and there are no plans in place for the next stage of the project. It is time that ministers started to look seriously at the options on the table, including new and innovative technologies like using the 4G network.”

ENDS

Notes for editors:

  • Full PA release (09/02/18):

Rural homes in Scotland could access superfast broadband through a new 4G antenna rather than underground cables.

Mobile provider EE has trialled the service in Cumbria and believes it could connect 80,000 rural homes in Scotland to much faster internet speeds.

The company, part of BT Group, installed routers along with an external antenna to connect to its 4G network and recorded internet speeds over 100Mbps in the Northern Fells area of Cumbria.

It said the scheme has been designed specifically as an alternative for those in rural communities that have yet to be connected with traditional fixed line broadband access.

Campaigners have argued that poor broadband and mobile coverage is a barrier to economic growth in parts of Scotland, with weak connectivity making it more difficult to attract people to live and work in remote and rural areas.

EE now plans to sell the service, with customers charged £100 to have a broadband antenna installed on their home, and monthly data plans ranging from £35 to £60 a month.

EE's 4G network covers 90% of the UK's landmass and the company said there are 80,000 rural homes in Scotland which could benefit from the solution.

Managing director of marketing, Max Taylor, said: "As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we've seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities.

"Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna takes this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time - whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series."


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