As many of you UK based readers will know, is the first carrier and still the only one to offer publicly available 4G LTE coverage. After only a few months, the coverage rate has expanded at an incredible rate across most of Britain’s biggest cities. However, I happen to live in one of England’s smallest cities. Carlisle, in Cumbria. So when I read the headline over at Android Central earlier this morning, my hopes were well and truly “got up”. All was in vain however, as it became clear that EE is focussing its current attention on providing the rural areas in the Northern Fells with fast internet speeds. And – as much as I’m annoyed that my city is still without – I’m also delighted.
In many of the areas that EE hopes to cover by the end of this summer, businesses and users don’t have access to fast broadband, and are lucky to get 3G. The fact that such a large carrier is focussing on the “out of towners” is a refreshing change. They’ll more than likely never get fiber optic broadband, or even anything anywhere near 10Mbps regular ADSL. So, to get 4G LTE with potential speeds of up to 20-25Mbps, it will enable people to get their work done much faster. And, if I ever feel the need to sample some, I’ll rather sadly have to travel down the road to one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of my homeland. Oh, the hardships.
Full press release below:
EE BRINGING 4G TO RURAL CUMBRIA
EE to make high-speed 4G available for homes and businesses across much of the Northern Fells, Cumbria – one of the UK’s most rural areas – for the first time
EE to deliver benefits of 4G superfast internet access to area covering almost 100 square miles and more than 2,000 residents in the UK’s highest concentration of home workers
Rural wireless broadband service set to deliver consistent 4G speeds between 8-12Mbps
21st March, 2013 – EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, today announced the launch of a 4G fixed and mobile broadband service in Cumbria, bringing high-speed broadband to homes and businesses in one of the UK’s most rural areas for the first time. The launch will offer many Northern Fells residents access to average upload and download speeds between 8-12Mbps, and headline speeds over 20Mbps.
The Northern Fells is an area of the UK that remains un-served by fibre or other superfast fixed technology. The launch demonstrates the ability of EE’s existing 4G network, running over 1800MHz, to offer the reach, capacity and high speeds necessary to deliver high speed broadband to rural homes and businesses. The deployment will help inform other potential 4G rollouts across rural parts of the UK.
EE is launching the service with its wide variety of existing consumer and business mobile broadband plans, starting from £15.99 per month, and will evaluate usage and behaviour to potentially develop other plans specific to rural customers. 4G home and office devices will be offered to help optimise the high-speed broadband experience for customers in one of the UK’s most rural environments. The service will cover 84% of the population across the Northern Fells by summer 2013.
EE has been running a 4G mobile broadband trial in Cumbria since May 2012. Participants of the trial saw speeds consistently in the range of 8-12 Mbps and frequent performance above 20 Mbps.
Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and Borders, commented:
“This is a major step forward for my constituents. Superfast broadband is making a massive difference to the way that people live their lives and do business. The 4G trial that started last year has already made a substantial difference to people in the Northern Fells community, and it is a hugely positive step to see this being moved to a full launch over the coming months. EE is a great British business that is investing in sharing the power of connectivity with citizens living in some of the most remote parts of the UK.”
John Grainger, Managing Director at Invest in Cumbria, said:
”Cumbria is an area that has so much to offer, with so much innovation and ambition and so many successful businesses, working locally, nationally, and on a global basis. For many years we have lobbied companies and governments to bridge the digital divide to connect Cumbria, yet a lack of investment and commitment from service providers has for too long left us technologically isolated. EE delivering high speed broadband connectivity to large parts of the Northern Fells is great progress and a big moment for us – this will be a massive benefit to the local community, changing the way we live and do business.”
Olaf Swantee, Chief Executive Officer, EE, said:
“Using our dedication to innovation and engineering excellence, we are overcoming the challenges of delivering rural connectivity to launch a 4G mobile broadband service in Cumbria. This is yet another big step in advancing digital communications in the UK. We’re offering one of the fastest mobile networks in the world, and are pioneering how to make superfast broadband available to homes and businesses that currently have little or no connectivity.”