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MP urges communities to come forward for broadband scheme

July 28, 2014 2:45 PM

 (Tim broadband photo)Local MP Tim Farron has today called on villages throughout the South Lakes to put themselves forward for a rural 3G pilot being run by Vodafone. He hopes to re-create the success we had in last year's competition when Witherslack was chosen as a pilot scheme.

Vodafone UK has launched a national programme giving up to 100 rural communities across the UK the opportunity to apply for mobile access. Vodafone is calling for communities to work together, in partnership with their local MP, to apply for the installation of Vodafone's innovative Open Sure Signal technology in their villages and hamlets and bring Vodafone 3G mobile coverage to their area. In addition to Vodafone's domestic Sure Signal device, up to one million people could have mobile signal in their community.

Vodafone's initial Rural Open Sure Signal trial has seen the connection of 12 rural communities across the UK, from Witherslack in the South Lakes to Walls in the Shetland Islands to Newton St Cyres in Devon. Communities connected so far have been enjoying social media using mobile internet whilst businesses, from GPs to a mussel farmer, now have mobile signal to help make their businesses work better.

In rural and remote locations across the UK, networks can struggle to deliver coverage via traditional means. This may be due to the geography of the area or difficulties with planning permission in areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Vodafone Open Sure Signal uses 'femtocell' technology to provide a Vodafone 3G signal in areas where traditional mobile coverage has been unable to reach.

Tim working with local residents was able to secure a 'femtocell' pilot scheme for Witherslack in 2013, he is hoping another winner will be chosen from the South Lakes.

Tim said: "Last year Witherslack was chosen for a pilot scheme and a few other communities missed out. I hope that this year many more communities in the South Lakes put themselves forward and we can, hopefully get another winner this year too!

"Improved connectivity will keep rural areas alive and thriving so urge communities to look at this scheme and apply."

Applications for the Rural Open Sure Signal programme close on 14 October 2014 with the first communities to be connected by the end of the year.