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UPDATE Vodafone Unveil Last 40 Rural Communities for 3G Mobile Broadband

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 (1:26 pm) - Score 3,050
vodafone uk broadband

Mobile operator Vodafone has today reportedly announced the final batch of 40 rural communities across the United Kingdom that will soon start to receive improved 3G based mobile broadband and voice network coverage via their on-going Rural Open Sure Signal project. But where are they?

The operators Rural Open Sure Signal (Femtocell) technology, which harnesses an existing fixed line connection in order to link with Vodafone’s network and thus boost outdoor mobile coverage in a specific area (mobile “not spots“), was first tested with 12 villages in 2011/12 (here) and last year the project was revived with the aim of helping up to 100 communities (here).

Since then the first lot of 30 new rural communities to receive 3G based mobile coverage via Vodafone’s enhanced project have been confirmed (here) and today the operator has announced a seemingly final batch of 40 more. Sadly there’s no support for the latest 4G connectivity, which is perhaps at least partly due to the limits of the related fixed line data connectivity in such remote areas.

The Sure Signal boxes themselves effectively behave like small wireless routers and can be installed on any number of buildings (e.g. village halls, pubs, shops, telegraph poles, payphones etc.), which then distributes the mobile signal over a wider area than might ordinarily be possible, or affordable, by building an expensive new mast.

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone UK, said:

I am delighted to announce that we have now shortlisted all 100 ‘not spot’ communities who could benefit from Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme. We are pleased to be able to deploy our innovative technologies to deliver 3G mobile signal to these rural communities for the first time.”

The Next 40 Communities (Unordered)

Ardfern
Connel
Dunbeg
Ormsary
Port Askaig
Heriot
Dunbeath
Trevose
Donemana
Gilcrux
Mungrisdale
Uldale
Loggerheads
Ceres
Silchester
Morvern
Newtonmore
Spean Bridge
Benbecula & Balivanich
Lochboisdale
Lochmaddy
Applecross
Cromarty
Culbokie
Ettrick
Aith
Baltasound
Fetlar
Sandness
Skeld Sandsting
Benacre
Lighthorne
Isle of Whithorn
Whithorn
Bradfield
Buckden
Markington
Melmerby
Scorton

The new communities include villages in and around Argyll & Bute, Borders, Caithness, Cornwall, Co Tyrone, Cumbria, Denbighshire, Fife, Hampshire, Inverness-shire, Outer Hebrides, Ross-shire, Selkirkshire, Shetlands, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Wigtownshire and Yorkshire.

Assuming that Vodafone’s original announcement last year still stands, then all of the planned communities should be connected up by the end of this year. We will update again when the big V responds.

UPDATE 1:46pm

Vodafone has finally furnished us with a list of the 40 communities, which we’ve updated above.

In addition, the eagle eyed among you will no doubt note as we did that 40 + 30 + 12 does not equal 100. In fact there’s fourth batch of 30 villages, which were announced towards the end of last year and went unnoticed by us and many others, so we’ve added them separately below.

Glenbervie
Crossapol (Isle of Tiree)
Abbey St Bathans
Chillaton
Ideford
Lifton
Postbridge & Bellever
Elmdon
Owslebury
Pucknall
Fownhope
Boat of Garten
Croxton
Horning
Loddon
Salhouse
Saxthorpe
Reepham
Martham
Badby
Castlebay
Eoligarry
Barratlantic
Horve
Cardrona
Conon Bridge
Hamnavoe
Dornoch
Oare
Wilcot

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Tim

    3G is so 2003… come one Vodafone roll out 4G if you’re going to do anything.

  2. Avatar MrWhite

    The article states that 3G is used due to the way the Sure Signal requires the use of fixed line broadband. These communities are unlikely to have “superfast broadband” and doubt will want a mobile mast in their village (not withstanding the cost vs. benefit to Vodafone)

  3. Avatar dragoneast

    Every little helps. Particularly for a community that has lack of mobile, and sporadic fixed line broadband. The problem is that mobile is just that, and there is a patchwork quilt of coverage spread amongst four operators particularly in rural (and even some urban)areas away from the main transport corridors (and within them sometimes). The EU seem to be getting the message that investment is as important as price. As usual, the Brits bring up the rear, with making the politicians look good more important than anything. It always strikes me on my travels over the last decade, that the areas at the forefront of mobile coverage ten years ago, still are, and those left behind, often still are. Particularly when compared to the decade before that. At last we are starting to recover from our “lost” decade.

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