Vodafone wants to expand its footprint across hard-to-reach areas of the UK through a new scheme that asks communities to buddy-up for the chance to gain access to its mobile network as part of the company’s overall £1 billion 2014 investment plan.
Under the Rural Open Sure Signal initiative the network provider plans to provide access to 100 rural communities across the UK and it ensures access to 3G mobile coverage in each area.
The units involved are about the same dimensions as a domestic broadband box and come in white, grey or brown. Each box uses existing broadband services to provide the 3G mobile signal and they can be installed on any number of different buildings in order to provide a strong signal throughout the community.
Vodafone Open Sure Signal uses “femtocell” technology that means a 3G mobile signal can be reached in rural areas that have traditionally suffered in the signal department.
“Mobile coverage can make a huge difference particularly to more rural and isolated communities. Vodafone’s Open Sure Signal technology offers communities the chance to transform their lives by bringing them technology many of us take for granted. I urge people to work together with their MPs to take this opportunity and bring mobile coverage to their homes,” stated Ed Vaizey, minister for Culture, Communities and Creative Industries.
A trial that has already been rolled out and saw 12 rural communities from Walls in the Shetland Islands to Newton St Cyres in Devon connected to the Internet and it provided a boost to various local services in the process.
Communities are being encouraged to call on locals MPs to apply for the scheme and it’s hoped that Vodafone will end up connecting around one million extra members of the UK population.