COMPANY WORKS WITH RORY TO BRING SUPERFAST BROADBAND TO NORTHERN FELLS
Rory and EE, the mobile telephone provider, yesterday launched a superfast mobile broadband signal which will cover over 100 square miles of the Northern Fells area in Cumbria with ‘superfast speeds’. The Fourth Generation technology, is a national first. It follows a three year campaign by the Penrith MP to bring Cumbria ‘the best superfast broadband in Europe’. The new technology has delivered broadband to the area at one tenth of the predicted cost of rolling out fibre to the area. Residents will receive unprecedented speeds of 24-30Mbps – more than ten times faster than a standard broadband connection. The home broadband service, powered by mobile 4G will give businesses and residents WiFi connectivity in their homes in places which were previously not covered.
Rory praised the ‘tireless work’ of the Northern Fells broadband group, which has worked closely with the MP and EE over two years to make the project possible. He described the launch of EE’s 4G network covering as “the most incredible success story”. The project will cover an area spanning from Aspatria and Wigton in the north, down to Threlkeld and St.Johns in the Vale in the south.The new network was launched on Monday in St John’s in the Vale by the Cumbrian MP, alongside Olaf Swantee, the chief executive of EE, and Dan Rogerson MP, the minister responsible for broadband and mobile technologies in rural Britain. All spoke of the incredible benefits that 4G signal could now bring to over 2000 residents and businesses in the area. Showcasing the broadband speeds now possible on the 4G network, those at the launch were even able to watch a congratulations message streamed over the internet from the Chancellor, George Osborne, who praised the energy and commitment of the local communities and their MP.
The rollout follows EE’s commercial trial in Threlkeld which has seen users experience average broadband speeds of 24mbps. It means that local businesses, from graphic designers and aerial surveyors, to local Bed and Breakfasts and even a business offering online harp tuition, are able to gain access to markets and customers globally, and compete. The 4G network launch in the Northern Fells not only stands as a local success story therefore, but provides a working model of how superfast broadband can be delivered to other rural communities in Britain.
Speaking at the launch, Rory Stewart MP said: “This is a wonderful culmination to three years of work – not least from the communities. Cumbria is again taking the national lead in technology. Superfast broadband will make an enormous difference to the way that people live their lives and do business. EE is a great British business that is investing in citizens living in some of the most remote parts of the UK. As we upgrade our rural communities and switch to superfast fibre and 4G technology, we mustn’t become complacent; the hard work is not over. This is wonderful for most of the Northern Fells, but we want to drive on till we get Broadband to every last Cumbrian house.”
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said:“Our goal is to enhance the digital lives of everyone in the UK, and this major expansion of our superfast broadband service in one of the most geographically challenging areas of the country is a big step towards that goal. There is a lot of work to do in 2014 to reach more people and businesses in rural areas, but we have proven today that 4G has the capability to connect this country’s unconnected, and we want to be at the forefront of that.”
George Osborne said: “I want to send my congratulations to the local community who have campaigned so hard alongside their brilliant local MP Rory Stewart, to make sure the Northern Fells is connected not just to the rest of the UK, but to the rest of the world, through this exciting technology. Working with EE, they have delivered this fantastic achievement which will improve not just communications between families, but will help local businesses, schools and healthcare.”
For more information on EE’s 4G network in the Northern Fells, and for any local residents keen to sign up, please visit ee.co.uk/4G-Cumbria