EE rolls out “micro network” to connect rural communities to the phone network

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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.

eemicronetwork

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.

James O’Malley