Vodafone To Extend 3G Mobile Internet Trial In Rural Regions

Vodafone is looking for 12 rural communities in the UK to take part in a trial designed to boost local 3G coverage.
From early 2012, the network operator will begin testing the use of “Open Femto” technology – outdoor femtocells located in payphones, pubs and other public buildings. The plan is to have femtocells eventually mounted on telephone poles installed by BT Openreach .
Vodafone is teaming up with network infrastructure specialist Alcatel-Lucent to deliver the technology that will build on the success of Vodafone’s ongoing 3G broadband trial in rural East Garton, West Berkshire, which is being carried out in partnership with BT .
Residents in the village have been using ‘open femto’ technology to improve 3G coverage in the area, and Vodafone is now hoping to get 12 other rural towns and villages on board to take part in the project.
Guy Laurence, Vodafone chief executive, said: “Bringing mobile coverage and the benefits of the mobile internet to rural areas involves not just us, but local people, politicians and other infrastructure players all working together.”
“We are confident that everyone will step up and help give rural communities a real boost and look forward to extending our trial.”
The mobile provider said it will write to MPs who have shown an interest in coverage and broadband roll out in rural areas and ask them to come up a list of possible candidates with the help of local communities.