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Seven villages in Cumbria added to Vodafone rural not-spot scheme

Thursday, April 7th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

A swathe of seven Cumbrian villages are the latest places to get 3G coverage as part of a nationwide Vodafone scheme.

The rural not-spots of Bullgill, Gilcrux, Caldbeck (pictured), Hesket Newmarket, Rosthwaite and Seatoller, and Uldale are the latest places to benefit from the network’s Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme.

The scheme uses Vodafone’s Sure Signal technology to bring 3G services to areas struggling with unreliable mobile signal.

It uses femtocell technology to take 3G to places that can’t get a signal using traditional means.

The scheme, which launched in July 2014, aims to provide decent mobile signal in up to 100 rural communities in not-spots, with 40 already live across the country.

It’s part of around £2bn Vodafone is spending on its network and services in the UK.

Announcing the arrival of the scheme in the seven Cumbrian villages, Vodafone said the ROSS units across the communities are already taking an average of more than 60 mobile calls and supporting more than 7,500 data sessions a day.

Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK chief technology officer, said: “The number of calls and data sessions the units are supporting every day, where there was marginal coverage previously, shows the significant benefit the technology is making to members of these communities.

“I am excited to see the transformation for these places in Cumbria and other communities which have been successful for this pioneering programme.”

Jamie Reed, MP for Copeland, said: “The extension of 3G coverage for rural communities is a positive step forward.

“In the 21st century, digital infrastructure is as important to our daily lives and our economic prosperity as road and rails.

'Brilliant news'

“To allow rural businesses to compete locally, nationally and internationally in the modern economy, internet connectivity is absolutely essential.

“Connecting communities and helping local businesses is absolutely vital to the rural areas in Cumbria and getting access to 3G mobile coverage is a big step towards achieving this.”

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, added: “This increase in 3G coverage in rural Cumbria, and particularly in Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket, is brilliant news; part of a campaign that I have been delighted to support for a number of years now.

“Penrith and The Border continues to be at the very heart of vital mobile coverage developments, and these improvements will hugely benefit families, individuals and businesses to access mobile data.

“There is much still to be done, and I look forward to seeing this technology spread wider and deeper in the county.”

Village champions from the area welcomed the arrival of the scheme, saying they had “jumped at the chance” to apply to be involved in ROSS.

Paul Crooks, village champion for Uldale, said: “Living and working in Uldale on the Caldbeck Fells we’re quite used to seeing visitors to the village walking up the hill with their mobile phones pointed skywards in the hope of picking up a signal.

“When Vodafone gave the village the opportunity to bring some of the 21st Century into Uldale with the Rural Open Sure Signal we jumped at the chance.

“We now have a Vodafone mobile service covering most of the village and perhaps we’re not seeing as many visitors holding their phones skywards.”

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