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Vodafone brings 3G mobile coverage to Roman Town of Silchester

Monday, February 15th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

One of the UK’s oldest villages is to get 3G coverage for the first time thanks to a Vodafone rural scheme.

Silchester in Hampshire is the latest community to be connected in Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme.

ROSS, which uses ‘femtocell’ technology to bring 3G signal to areas where operators can’t use traditional means, is being used by Vodafone to bring coverage to 100 communities in mobile not-spots.

Launched in July 2014, more than 30 communities across the country are now live, from the Shetland Islands to the mountains of Snowdonia.

Silchester, one of the few villages to have been continuously occupied since the Iron Age, is home to one of the best-preserved Roman towns of Britain.

Until now locals and visitors have been plagued by unreliable mobile coverage.

But its ROSS unit is already taking an average of 30 mobile calls and supporting 3,000 data sessions a day, Vodafone said.

Silchester is the third village in Hampshire, along with Easton and Itchen Abbas, to get coverage through the ROSS programme.

Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK chief technology officer, said: “I am delighted that Silchester has 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.

'Marginal coverage'

“The number of calls and data sessions the unit is supporting every day, in an area where there was marginal coverage previously, shows the significant benefit the technology is making to members of the community.

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

Ranil Jayawardena, MP for North East Hampshire, added: “I believe that in the 21st century, everyone should have access to fast and reliable mobile coverage and it is great that 3G and mobile internet will now be available to the residents of Silchester."

The ROSS scheme is part of around £2bn Vodafone is spending on its network across the country over 2014 and 2015.

This includes the provision of HD (High Definition) Voice technology on its 3G network and the extension of its 4G coverage to 757 cities and towns and thousands of smaller communities across the UK.

Picture courtesy of Stephen McKay.

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