EE Targets Rural Broadband Not-spots With 4G Antenna

Mobile operator EE has launched a new solution, which it believes will help those homes in the UK struggling to get decent broadband speeds.

EE is offering to install a 4G antenna at those premises where, because of their remote location, they cannot get fast broadband speeds via a traditional fixed-line connection.

It comes after the government announced last month that 95 percent of the UK population could now access superfast broadband with speeds of 24Mbps or faster.

Remote Connectivity

But there is still 5 percent of the UK struggling to get decent broadband speeds.

To help these people stuck in broadband not-spots, EE said it is now offering the UK’s first 4G home router solution, available nationwide, with a professionally installed antenna.

The launch also sees the arrival of a “combined 4G and fixed-line broadband checker”, so customers can see which solution is best for them, based on their postcode.

EE has trialled its 4G antenna solution across the Northern Fells in Cumbria, and said that it has (for the first time) given those homes stuck in rural not-spots, superfast broadband.

EE says its 4G antenna solution could potentially help 580,000 homes gain access to high speed connectivity.

Of course, it depends on the fact that the target area has 4G mobile coverage, but EE says that its 4G network reaches 90 percent of the UK’s landmass (equal to more than 99.6 percent of UK homes).

EE believes the solution will help those customers who can currently only access broadband slower than 10Mbps. It said that its customer trials in the Northern Fells area of Cumbria have delivered speeds of over 100Mbps.

“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,” said Max Taylor, MD of Marketing at EE.

“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,” he said.

“What EE is doing is transformative,” said Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border. “One of the real challenges is getting fixed fibre into people’s houses because they are so sparsely populated in rural areas. The great thing about EE’s new solution though is that it’s wireless – allowing people to get superfast home broadband via 4G.”

Costs And Data

Customers will initially have to pay a £100 fee to have the ‘powerful external antenna’ installed on their home, typically mounted up high, and facing towards the nearest mobile phone mast.

A cable will connect this outside antenna to the inside 4GEE Home Router, which also offers Wi-Fi connectivity for up to 35 devices.

The customer will of course then have to pay a monthly fee going forward. A 4GEE Home pay monthly plan ranges from £35 to £60.

But being as this is a mobile 4G connection and not fixed-line solution, data allowances are a factor which means that there may be no bingeing on Netflix series for example.

EE’s most expensive package of £60 per month will allow for a 200GB monthly data allowance. Fixed-line connections typically allow for ‘unlimited’ data.

More information about the 4G antenna can be found here, and a video of the solution is here.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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