EE to fill in the rural gaps with a micro network

Getting connectivity when you’re in a rural area is a challenge. My weekend of train journeys only served to highlight the fact that beautiful countryside usually means a complete lack of signal.

EE are to tackle this with a new idea that doesn’t require cabling, planning permission or a fixed broadband link. It can also be installed very quickly.

Three or four small antennas are enough to cover half a square mile, or 100-150 homes and businesses. The antennas connect wirelessly to a “macro” site to boost coverage.

More than 1,500 rural communities will be hooked up by the end of 2017.

A trial has just been completed in the Cumbria village of Sebergham. With just three small antennas all 129 households and small businesses in the village began receiving data and voice connectivity.

Full deployment will begin at the start of 2015. You may remember our earlier story where Vodafone also solved the rural not-spot issue, however this relied on larger versions of their Sure Signal system, which connects to a broadband link to access the network.

Basically what the EE system does is pick up a feed from the edge of the existing coverage and then it relays this to smaller repeaters within the rural town or village being covered.