EE turns on superfast 4G in Cumbria

EE thinks 4G is the answer to the nation’s rural broadband problem, as it shows off high speeds in the North.

4G road sign

EE has launched a 4G service in Cumbria as it looks to convince the Government that mobile spectrum could cover the final 10 per cent of the UK not able to access quality broadband.

More than 2,000 residents and businesses will have access to the 4G offering, and EE has offered a wireless broadband plan, including 20GB for 25. EE believes users will be able to enjoy average speeds of 24Mbps.

For those who need more data, they can buy 2GB for 7.50, 4GB for 10 or 10GB for 15. Users will also have to shell out 69.99 for a Huawei router.

The full rollout comes after a commercial trial in the area of Threlkeld. It has now been expanded to cover more than 100 square miles. By March 2014, it would have covered another 100 square miles.

Like other operators, EE believes the final 10 per cent of the UK not being covered by the Government's Broadband Development UK (BDUK) programme could be catered for with 4G access. It has carried out trials in various remote parts of the UK, including one with BT in Cornwall. The operator plans to introduce 4G to Bodmin Moor this summer.

"Our goal is to enhance the digital lives of everyone in the UK, and this major expansion of our superfast broadband service in one of the most rural and geographically challenging areas of the country is a big step towards that goal," said EE CEO Olaf Swantee.

"There is a lot of work to do in 2014 to reach more people and businesses in rural areas, and investment-friendly government policies have an important role to play in supporting this, but today we have proven that 4G has the capability to connect this country's unconnected, and EE intends to continue to be at the forefront of that."

Swantee believes the government can provide impetus to 4G adoption in rural areas. He has recommended cutting proposed spectrum yearly licence fees, which would see EE's costs go up by 82 million.

The government should also rebalance its BDUK spend to focus more on mobile technologies, instead of spending most of its 530 million pot on fixed line, according to Swantee.

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