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3 Mobile UK Brings FREE Mobile Broadband to Scottish Highland Communities

Monday, November 26th, 2012 (7:33 am) - Score 1,109
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Mobile operator Three UK has announced that it is giving away 20 free Mobile Broadband modems (dongles) to community hubs in the isolated Highlands and Islands villages of Melvich and Durness in Scotland. The port town of Invergordon further south will also get similar treatment.

The move is being conducted through the operators Rural Broadband Working Group, which was established last year as an organisation that could work with local politicians and the Countryside Alliance to identify rural broadband ‘Not-Spots’ (i.e. rural areas that are not served by fixed line broadband ISPs but that can get a 3G mobile service).

Related areas are then promised free mobile data and devices for a year, which would be predominantly focused upon helping to connect local community halls, some homes, hotels and cafes etc.

Dave Dyson, CEO of Three, said:

With the Highlands having some of the most remote areas in Europe, these communities often don’t have access to the benefits of high-speed broadband. We have built a network specifically for the internet and are passionate about using this to connect people wherever they are, whether this is in the Highlands or towns and cities around the UK.”

Moves like this are to be welcomed but 20 modems isn’t really enough to connect everybody in all of the related communities and as a result such efforts often end up looking more like a stop-gap solution than a real longer-term strategy.

On the other hand the imminent 4G mobile auction (800MHz and 2.6GHz) aims to ensure expanded coverage commitments to reach at least 98% of the UK, which could make 4G a viable solution for many isolated villages.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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2 Responses
  1. I was in Scotland last month and travelling down watching for 3G signals. I never saw any outside the major cities. Same in England actually.

    • DTMark

      Very patchy in rural areas, although I also find quite patchy in urbans, too.

      However, wander round our village and you can download at quite reasonable basic broadband speeds in much of it on 3 – I’ve seen over 6Meg downstream just walking between this and the next village on a mobile four years ago from the same cell which delivers up to 12Meg to our house (via dongle).

      O2 3G is good at one edge of the village. T-Mobile 3G at the other edge. No Vodafone 3G at all for miles. There are three 3 masts within range of this house which I think are all 3G which is useful since ADSL is pitiable. Some cells are sharing the “Airwave” mast (I think it is – the one the emergency services use) which is quite tall.

      Just 5 miles down the road at the garden centre, no mobile network signals whatsoever.

      Depending on how many cells there are if there’s only say 42 Meg to go around, it’s probably not sensible to give away too many modems if they want to promote a decent service 😉

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