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Vodafone looks to boost rural mobile access with new initiative

Vodafone UK is aiming to give 1m people mobile signal with the launch of a new national programme that will provide 100 rural communities across the UK the opportunity to apply for mobile access.

The communications giant is calling on communities to work together, in partnership with their local MP, to apply for the installation of its Open Sure Signal technology in their villages and hamlets to bring 3G mobile coverage to the area.

Vodafone’s initial Rural Open Sure Signal trial has seen the connection of 12 rural communities across the UK. It uses femtocell technology to provide a Vodafone 3G signal in areas where traditional mobile coverage has been unable to reach.

Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone UK chief executive, said the initiative would provide an opportunity for people to make a “real difference” to their community.

“Bringing mobile coverage and mobile internet to rural areas gives communities a real boost – both economically and social,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the successful communities light up and start to experience the benefits mobile connectivity will bring to each and every community involved.”

The new units use existing broadband services to deliver the mobile signal. The units can be installed on any number of buildings including village halls, pubs, shops and homes across the community.

As well as using Rural Open Sure Signal, Vodafone is spending more than £1 billion on its network and services across the country this year, including extending its 4G coverage to 259 cities, towns and smaller communities across the UK.

Applications to the programme close on 14 October.

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