EE hopes to solve woeful rural broadband speeds with its mini-router and antenna

EE has revealed a mini-router that has been specifically designed to deliver up to 100Mbits/sec broadband services to hard-to-reach areas not currently covered by its regular fibre broadband.

The new package comprises the 4GEE Home Router, which sits inside your home, and a 4G antenna that’s mounted on the outside of your house, connected by a cable to prevent any interference from thick walls.

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The company is trialling its 4G-boosted routers to homes and businesses in the Northern Fells in Cumbria, traditionally an area that’s proven difficult to service with the latest internet infrastructure. If successful, the company believes it will be able to help the 580,000 homes and businesses across the UK that are currently experiencing web speeds of less than 10Mbits/sec. However, it comes with an upfront cost of £100 on top of the £35-£60 a month contracts.

 “As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we’ve seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities,” said Max Taylor, managing director of marketing at EE.

“Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna take this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time – whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series.”

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As an incentive, any existing EE mobile customers who want to use the service will also have their phone’s data limits boosted by 5GB.

“This new service from EE is going to help households in some of the most isolated areas of Cumbria; areas where residents simply cannot and may never receive fibre connectivity,” said Mal Hilton, chairman of EE partner Northern Fells Broadband. 

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“It is going to radically change the lives of people in this community. With fast and reliable home internet for the very first time, they can now function like everybody else in the UK.”

Openreach, formerly part of BT, recently announced it would be providing up to three million premises with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections by 2020, expanding on its previous pledge of two million, with the goal of servicing up to ten million by tmid-2020s20s.

However, rural areas are notoriously difficult to service given the vast distances that often separate populations. EE’s new approach is likely to help boost connectivity in those regions, although its price may be a sticking point for some. 

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