EE installs first micro network site in rural UK

One of the biggest challenges for firms looking to roll out internet connectivity around the world is getting adequate coverage in rural areas. The cost of running the required cabling and installing other parts of the infrastructure in rural areas can be prohibitive leaving some smaller cities without internet coverage. In the UK EE, the largest mobile network provider in the country, is working on a new system that will provide connectivity in rural areas wirelessly.

The new technology is called micro network and it eliminates the need to install large masts and underground cables to get internet connectivity to an entire village. The first village in the UK to get a micro network location is the Cumbria village of Sebergham.

All 129 households and small businesses in the village are able to receive voice and data connectivity using three meshed small antennas. EE plans to connect over 1500 rural communities using the micro network tech over the next three years. In early 2015 EE pans to make voice, 3G, and 4G data services available in communities that current lack reliable mobile and high speed data coverage.

EE says that the micro network tech dramatically reduces the cost of rolling out networks in rural areas that are hard to reach via current networks. Connecting the village of Sebergham was a challenge using conventional technology because it sits in a deep valley. EE's tech can connect small communities with around 100-150 homes and business across an area measuring 0.5 square miles with three or four small antennas. Each antenna can be installed on any building in only a few hours.