- Vodafone UK lights up rural Denbighshire not spot with reliable 3G coverage for the first time
- Loggerheads is the latest rural area to be connected in Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme
- Part of approximately £2 billion Vodafone is spending on its UK network and services across 2014 and 2015
Vodafone UK has announced the beautiful rural Loggerheads Country Park is the latest place in a rural mobile not-spot location to receive 3G coverage with Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme. The park has until now suffered from unreliable mobile coverage and slow network speeds.
The Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme uses Vodafone’s innovative Sure Signal technology, to bring high quality 3G voice services and much needed access to the internet via mobile devices to communities and rural areas in some of the UK’s most beautiful or remote areas.
The Rural Open Sure Signal programme is a national initiative by Vodafone UK to provide reliable mobile access to up to 100 rural communities in mobile not-spot locations. Launched in July 2014, with support from local MPs, councils and rural action groups, the programme received an overwhelming response, with applications from across the country from the Shetland Islands to Cornwall and from the mountains of Snowdonia to the Norfolk coast.
Mobile connectivity plays a vital role in keeping communities in touch and helps support local economies. However, rural and remote locations often miss out on advantages provided by modern communication tools, due to the complexity of delivering network coverage. This can be because of the geography of the area or difficulties with planning permissions in places of outstanding natural beauty.
The Rural Open Sure Signal programme uses innovative ‘femtocell’ technology to provide an alternative solution to bring 3G mobile access in locations where it isn’t possible for networks to provide coverage through traditional means. As part of the ROSS programme, Vodafone teams have now surveyed each of the 100 communities which were added to the programme at the end of last year. The surveys included physical ground assessments by Vodafone engineers as well as detailed fixed broadband speed checks as ROSS requires a high-speed to work. The teams have also drawn up plans for viable communities to illustrate where the equipment will be sited. The process saw some of the initial communities having their implementation postponed until their community broadband speeds and availability have improved. Rural communities on the reserve list for the programme have now been surveyed, with communities in Kent and Cambridgeshire now added to the programme.
Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer, said: “Mobile connectivity is an essential service for areas like Loggerheads however getting traditional coverage to this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would prove very difficult. Reliable mobile phone coverage will make such a difference to Loggerheads. Not only from the people who work and live in the park but the thousands of visitors it receives each year.”
Rt Hon. David Jones, MP for Clwyd West said: “I’m delighted that Loggerheads has joined other communities across the UK in getting access to mobile internet services through Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal Programme. The project is a great example of local people working together with businesses to bring the benefits of digital connectivity to their community.”
Hugh Evans, Leader for the Denbighshire County Council commented: ”The arrival of the Vodafone ROSS programme at Loggerheads is part of the Digital Denbighshire Plan, which works towards improving mobile phone reception across the county. Due to its rural location and high visitor numbers, Loggerheads was identified as a key site that would benefit from a 3G signal, allowing visitors and on-site businesses to make clear voice calls, access emails and the internet. The arrival of the Vodafone ROSS programme will allow visitors to browse the web for further exciting places to visit in Denbighshire, to book accommodation for overnight stays, reserve trips, book local restaurants and access their personal and on-line social media accounts to share their experiences of this wonderful location.”
As well as using Rural Open Sure Signal to plug rural “not-spots”, Vodafone is spending around £2 billion on its network and services across the country over 2014 and 2015. This includes the provision of HD (High Definition) Voice technology on its 3G network and the extension of its 4G coverage to 582 cities and towns and thousands of smaller communities across the UK.