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Hampshire villages get 3G mobile coverage from Vodafone rural scheme

Wednesday, September 23rd 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Two villages in Hampshire’s Itchen Valley are the latest communities to benefit from Vodafone’s scheme to take 3G to rural 'not-spots'.

Easton and Itchen Abbas, which have suffered from unreliable mobile coverage, will now get high quality voice services and mobile internet thanks to Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) scheme.

ROSS uses ‘femtocell’ technology to bring 3G to areas where it isn’t possible for operators to provide coverage through traditional means.

It is being used by Vodafone to bring coverage to 100 communities in mobile not-spots – areas with little or no signal.

Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, said: “I am very pleased to see this new ROSS system up and running.

“I have been working hard with Hampshire County Council and government on rural broadband issues, and having spoken to countless people in the area, I know this will be very warmly welcomed indeed.”

Henry Labram, village champion for Itchen Valley, said: “This is a big step forward in getting an improved mobile connection for the Itchen Valley.

“Visitors to the area as well as residents will benefit. It started with the Parish Plan, completed last summer, when residents said that lack of a good mobile signal was a serious problem for the area.

“We then learnt that Vodafone were offering their ROSS system for free, and with local MP Steve Brine’s strong support, the system is now in place.

'Almost impossible'

“There has been much more to organise than you might think, including a number of site surveys and visits by engineers, and the Vodafone team have been very helpful.

“Technology can bring so many good things, and keeping up is really important.”

Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK’s chief technology officer, said: “I am delighted that Easton and Itchen Abbas have joined our Rural Open Sure Signal programme.

“Mobile connectivity is an essential service for communities and businesses to thrive in today’s digital world and support local economies.

“As part of the Rural Open Sure Signal programme, we are committed to investing in our network to provide access even in remote locations where it is otherwise almost impossible to reach.

“I am excited to see the transformation for the Itchen Valley and other communities which has been successful for this pioneering programme.”

Cable.co.uk reported earlier this week that the scheme was bringing three rural communities in Norfolk – High Kelling, Hillington and Upper Sheringham – 3G coverage for the first time.

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