EE has announced plans to connect up 1500 rural communities which have previously been in mobile phone dead zones – by using new smaller “meshed” antennas.
The company has released a video showing the installation in the Cumbrian village of Sebergham – which should enable the town’s 129 households to connect.
The way it works is by using new “micro network” technology – which rather than having to have underground cables connected to the next transmitter along, or a broadband connection – it instead works wirelessly. Presumably the micro-transmitter essentially acts as a signal booster, using its position on the roof of a building with a high powered aerial to connect to transmitters that would be out of reach of normal mobile phones – and then repeating the signal so that phones in the village can connect.
Apparently the transmitters can connect around 100-150 homes over 0.5 square miles with “just three or four” small antennas – and luckily, planning permission isn’t required.
This isn’t just EE acting altruistically – as part of its 4G license, like all of the mobile companies it is obliged to increase coverage to 99% of the population – but in any case, this can only be good news for rural communities.