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Vodafone Find Altnet Fix for Rural 3G Mobile Open Sure Signal Rollout

Wednesday, Jul 29th, 2015 (1:39 pm) - Score 1,038

Vodafone has found a fix for some of the communities in their Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS100) project, which until recently had been unable to benefit from the Femtocell tech (i.e. uses fixed line services to boost local mobile signals) because the related areas suffered from a lack of good fixed line broadband.

The ROSS100 project has identified 100 rural communities across the United Kingdom (here and here) that could receive improved mobile reception by harnessing existing fixed line infrastructure, but in being rural it’s also true that a good number of those will suffer from slow fixed broadband services.

Indeed only last month Vodafone warned that a number of their targeted communities, which weren’t named, have had their ROSS100 upgrades “postponed until their community broadband speeds and availability have improved“. But thankfully the operator has now found a solution for some of those areas by working with alternative network (altnet) ISPs.

Dr Rob Matthews, Vodafone’s Network Wizard, said:

About 30% of villages in our list of 100 didn’t have quick enough BT broadband to be able to reliably power our ROSS units. We normally work with BT solely on providing broadband, but we also found out that there are third party providers coming forward and filling that gap, so we’ve had to figure out how do we get our kit to communicate with these niche providers technology, and we’re starting to roll that out now.”

The altnets aren’t named, although ISPs like Gigaclear, B4RN and many others are working to cater for various rural locations across the United Kingdom. In any case the news means that Vodafone are now able to “step up a gear” and push the roll-out forwards.

So far five communities are live (Minchinhampton, Broad Chalke, Chillaton, Lifton and Loggerheads [North Wales]) and Vodafone is now aiming to deploy to new sites at a rate of one or two a week until March 2016.

Dr Rob Matthews added:

We’re going to have to ramp things up a bit from here, but we’ve already done a lot of the ground work of surveying villages, finding out where the best locations are, making sure the speeds are quick enough and undertaking designs. We’ve also done some testing with fibre to make sure the superfast speeds work with the ROSS units, and now we’re moving into the implementation phase.”

Mind you we can’t help but wonder, given the advent of WiFi Calling for mobile devices, whether it wouldn’t simply be easier to use local WiFi for mobile calls instead of boosting the mobile signal via fixed line connections. Admittedly we’d suppose that approach is not a true mobile network and of course not everybody wants home broadband.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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