CUMBRIA: EE has switched on an expanded 4G service in rural Cumbria that will mean over 2,000 homes and businesses can receive a superfast connection for the first time.
The network covers 100 square miles in the county and comes after a successful trial in the region, in the village of Threlkeld, where speeds of 20Mbps were often reached, EE said.
The chief executive of EE Olaf Swantee told V3 the firm had spent around £1m to bring the service to the region in the last few months, since it announced its intention to roll out the network across the area.
Swantee also said that user numbers were among the highest seen on the network, as people rush to enjoy a high speed service for the first time.
“We are seeing an enormous appetite for the service. Businesses are becoming ever more mobile and workers are travelling around more and more, so firms need a mobile solution,” he told V3.
One company benefitting from the service is photography firm J-Wasp, which works with major construction groups to provide aerial images of locations they are working on.
Sending photos to clients used to be difficult as speeds rarely went over 1Mbps for upload and 6Mbps for download. But the firm now often experiences download speeds of over 40Mbps and 20Mbps upload speeds, enabling staff to send photos instantly while on the go.
Local musician Clare Bakewell has just started using the network to teach the harp online via a high-definition webcam, which had not been possible before.
“I do everything online – from buying sheet music to booking weddings and events, so having the 4G network has been a real boost,” she told V3.
MP for Penrith and The Border Rory Stewart, a vocal campaigner for 4G in rural areas, welcomed the news from EE, claiming improved mobile broadband coverage was vital for remote regions.
The service will be live from 6 December. Those interested in the service will need to pay £70 upfront for a dongle, the Huawei B953. Then they have a choice of packages: 2GB for £7.50 a month, 4GB for £10, 10GB for £15 and 20GB for £25. From 1 February 2014, the 20GB package will cost £30 per month.
The extended rollout in Cumbria comes just two weeks after EE added Carlisle to its network, taking the total number of locations covered to 131.
Rivals O2 and Vodafone are rushing to catch up, though, with O2 claiming 25 percent of UK residents are now able to access its 4G network.
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