EE tests 4G antenna solution for rural users who lack fast broadband

EE has unveiled a new 4G home broadband solution which could connect 580,000 homes across the UK, especially those in rural areas that are currently only able to access broadband slower than 10Mbps.

The solution uses a small antenna attached to the outside of a home, which then carries a 4G broadband signal inside via a cable to a connected 4GEE Home Router.

EE has recently been trialling the solution in the Northern Fells in Cumbria, an area with dramatic topography.

Currently many homes in rural Cumbria can only get limited broadband access, and EE has worked with the Northern Fells Broadband initiative on service trials with users in the area.

The solution allows customers to access EE’s superfast 4G network which currently extends to 90 per cent of the UK’s landmass (equal to more than 99.6 per cent of UK homes).

The telecoms giant says the new system could help more than 580,000 rural homes gain access to high-speed internet.

EE’s Max Taylor said: “As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we’ve seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities.

“Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna takes this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time – whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series.”

Installation of the new antenna does not require a landline, EE said, and the firm is offering a range of monthly plans ranging from £35 to £60 a month, depending on data allowance. A one-off payment of £100 is also required for professional installation of the antenna.

The company has also launched a Combined Line Checker service, which allows customers to enter their postcode to find out which broadband solution - fixed line or over 4G - is most suitable for them.

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, said the antenna system could transform the lives of those in rural areas such as Cumbria.

“What EE is doing is transformative. One of the real challenges is getting fixed fibre into people’s houses because they are so sparsely populated in rural areas,” he said.

“The great thing about EE’s new solution though is that it’s wireless - allowing people to get superfast home broadband via 4G.

“As the number of new mobile masts continue to roll out, more and more areas of Cumbria will come online. With access to fast broadband, people’s lives really will be transformed.”

In December the government confirmed that everyone living in the UK will be guaranteed a broadband speed of at least 10Mbps by 2020 under the Universal Service Obligation plan. 

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