EE’s trial of 4G in Cumbria may old news but rural residents and businesses are still benefitting from a broadband lifeline.
Superfast broadband from BT is currently off the menu for the remote Northern Fells area of Cumbria and the current speeds acheiveable on the old phone lines aren’t much to shout about.
But that hasn’t stopped Steve and Jill Woolley who run Near Howe Cottages from benefitting from a near 100 per cent boost in download speeds thanks to EE.
Read our guide to 4G Fixed Wireless BroadbandBefore the 4G trial kicked off, the average speed that the Woolleys could get on a BT broadband line was 1.5Mbps. With EE’s 4G service they’re now enjoying download speeds of around 12Mbps.
Speaking to local paper North West Evening Mail, Mr Woolley says it’s transformed their business.
“On wet days we look through the windows and see two children on tablets and two adults on laptops. It allows families to entertain the children and plan their day.
“It differentiates us from the competition when people are researching where to stay. If you have a choice between a cottage with superfast broadband and one with no broadband, or only a basic service, you’ll choose the former.”
The Northern Fells Broadband project has been set up to petition EE to extend its services across the seven parishes in the Northern Fells region of Cumbria. Currently, EE’s 4G coverage means that 85 per cent of locations can make use of 4G fixed-location broadband, but the Northern Fells project wants this extended to 100 per cent.
It’s hoped that locations across the areas will be able to benefit from a service which costs between £20 and £30/month. Details on usage limits and upload speeds are not clear, nor is it clear when the region will benefit from EE’s speed doubling programme.
Given that EE is targeting big urban regions first, and has promised that London’s Tech City will always be first in line for future upgrades, Northern Fells residents could be in for a wait.
The government recently announced the Mobile Infrastructure Plan, a £150 million venture that aims to improve mobile coverage predominantly in rural areas and help the UK’s four major networks achieve their goal of providing 98 per cent outdoor 4G coverage by 2015.
As well as giving customers a faster network on which to check Facebook, send emails and pictures on their phones, 4G services will allow those in areas where traditional broadband won’t (or can’t) reach to get a semblance of a superfast service.
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