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Press Release | 30 Nov 2015

FOWNHOPE IS THE LATEST COMMUNITY TO RECEIVE MOBILE COVERAGE WITH VODAFONE RURAL SURE SIGNAL PROGRAMME #ROSS100

FOWNHOPE IS THE LATEST COMMUNITY TO RECEIVE MOBILE COVERAGE WITH VODAFONE RURAL SURE SIGNAL PROGRAMME #ROSS100
  • Vodafone UK lights up rural Herefordshire not-spot with reliable 3G coverage
  • Fownhope is the latest community to be connected in Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme
  • Fownhope’s ROSS units are already taking an average of 150 mobile calls and supporting over 8,500 data sessions a day
  • Part of approximately £2 billion Vodafone is spending on its UK network and services across 2014 and 2015

Vodafone UK has announced the beautiful rural community of Fownhope in Herefordshire as the latest community in a rural mobile not-spot location to receive 3G coverage with Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme.

Situated on the banks of the River Wye in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside, Fownhope has until now suffered from unreliable mobile coverage and slow network speeds. The ROSS programme uses Vodafone’s innovative Sure Signal technology to bring high quality 3G voice services and much needed access to the internet via mobile devices to communities in some of the UK’s most beautiful and remote areas.  About the size of a cereal box, the Open Sure Signal units connect to existing broadband lines to create 3G coverage, and are installed high up on chimney breasts or the eaves of buildings.

The ROSS programme is a national initiative by Vodafone UK to provide reliable mobile access to up to 100 rural communities in mobile not-spot locations. Launched in July 2014, with support from local MPs, councils and rural action groups, the programme received an overwhelming response, with applications from communities across the country from the Shetland Islands to Cornwall and from the mountains of Snowdonia to the Norfolk coast.

Mobile connectivity plays a vital role in keeping communities in touch and helps support local economies. However, rural and remote locations often miss out on advantages provided by modern communication tools, due to the complexity of delivering network coverage. This can be because of the geography of the area or difficulties with planning permissions in places of outstanding natural beauty. The ROSS programme uses innovative ‘femtocell’ technology to provide an alternative solution to bring 3G mobile access in locations where it isn’t possible for networks to provide coverage through traditional means.

As part of the ROSS programme, Vodafone teams have now surveyed each of the 100 communities which were added to the programme at the end of last year.  The surveys included physical ground assessments by Vodafone engineers as well as detailed fixed broadband speed checks. The teams have also drawn up plans for viable communities to illustrate where the equipment will be sited. The process saw some of the initial communities having their implementation postponed until their community broadband speeds and availability have improved.

Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer, said: “I am delighted that Fownhope 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. 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 Fownhope and other communities which have been successful for this pioneering programme.”

Bill Wiggin, MP for North Herefordshire said: “When the proposed mast was cancelled I met local people to discuss how we could get a service that worked for Fownhope. We needed the new fibre optic broadband cable to be connected to get on to the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme, a national initiative by Vodafone UK to provide reliable mobile access to rural communities. Following my presentation of a petition to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at the time, and a number of questions to the Government and phone providers Fownhope was accepted to the ROSS programme which has now gone live. This is an excellent outcome for Fownhope and I am delighted to have been able to play my part in delivering this important win for the community. This campaign and the successful outcome has made me rethink my current mobile phone provider, as Vodafone has demonstrated a real commitment to solving the problems of mobile phone signal for those in rural communities.”

Kevin Braybrook, Village champion for Fownhope commented: “Nearly 18 months after we first started campaigning for better mobile phone signal in Fownhope we are delighted that the Vodafone ROSS system has gone live.  The campaign for a better mobile phone signal involved numerous Fownhope residents who helped collect signatures, monitor cell phone signal strength and lobby OFCOM.  Bill Wiggin played an important part in taking our campaign to parliament and Vodafone are so far, the only company to have taken a proactive role in bringing better mobile phone signal to rural areas like Fownhope. The Parish Council is grateful to Vodafone for providing the system at no cost to the village, and to the Vodafone engineers who did a great job designing and installing the system.”

As well as using Rural Open Sure Signal to plug rural “not-spots”, Vodafone is spending around £2 billion on its network and services 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 679 cities and towns and thousands of smaller communities across the UK.

Further communities will be announced over the next few months. For more information on the programme, visit www.vodafone.co.uk/rural.

For more information please contact

Vodafone UK Media Relations

01635 666777

https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk/

Notes to editors:

  • The programme involves the use of innovative ‘femtocell’ technology. Vodafone UK has pioneered the use of this technology with Vodafone Sure Signal. Launched in 2009, Vodafone Sure Signal is used by hundreds of thousands of people across the UK every day to boost their in-building 3G coverage. It plugs straight into a home broadband line. For more information visit vodafone.co.uk/suresignal
  • Pictures from the launch event are available on request.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

 

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

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