Local Broadband News

New micro network to benefit rural communities

5th December 2014
New micro network to benefit rural communities

EE announced plans 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, thus improving the economics of connecting hard to reach areas.

The micro network can connect communities of around 100-150 homes and businesses, across an area of 0.5 square miles with just three or four small antennas. An antenna can be installed on to any building in just a few hours, and planning applications are not required. The solution is based on technology designed by Parallel Wireless, and will be in full deployment in early 2015.

Rural areas can now be covered at lower cost by using smaller mobile sites that communicate with each other to spread coverage and capacity, and using wireless technology instead of cables to connect into the main EE network.

Areas across the UK are being analysed now for connectivity, and the first deployments will be started in early 2015.

The first community to be connected through the trial is in the Cumbria village of Sebergham, with all 129 households and small businesses receiving data and voice connectivity from only three ‘meshed’ small antennas.