EE launch superfast 4G network in rural Cumbria

Over 2,000 residents and businesses in Cumbria are set to benefit from UK mobile operator EE's launch of a 4G service, which will offer average speeds of 24Gbps.

The network will cover 100 square miles of Cumbria, stretching from Threlkeld in the South to Wigton in the North, and will be the first rural area in the UK to have access to 4G.

Alan Bird, a farmer in Penrith, told the Daily Telegraph that the speed of his previous Internet connection was only really useful for checking emails.

"The egg packing stations that we send our eggs to need an almost constant data feed from us, which is only possible with 4G broadband," said Bird. "So much more of our work depends on being connected now, and we were at risk of being left behind without a fast broadband connection."

EE CEO Olaf Swantee believes that the 10 per cent of the UK that is not covered by the government's Broadband Development UK program (BDUK), can be served by 4G in the future.

"Our goal is to enhance the digital lives of everyone in the UK," said Swantee. "This major expansion of our superfast broadband service in one of the most rural and geographically challenging areas of the country is a big step towards that goal.

"There is a lot of work to do in 2014 to reach more people and businesses in rural areas, and investment-friendly government policies have an important role to play in supporting this, but today we have proven that 4G has the capability to connect this country's unconnected, and EE intends to continue to be at the forefront of that."

Last week, EE switched on the UK's first advanced LTE network in the Tech City area of London, introducing the world's fastest 4G network to the capital.