EE has turned on 4G in rural Cumbria, bringing its next generation network to more than 2,000 residents and businesses.
The operator had been running a commercial trial in Threlkeld but has now extended the coverage to more than 100 square miles. From 6 December, consumers and businesses will be able to sign up to 4G plans.
EE's CEO Olaf Swantee will repeat his concerns about the proposed changes to the annual licence fees for spectrum. Under Ofcom proposals, EE is set to pay an extra £82m per year, which Swantee will say is the cost of delivering 4G to an area the size of Wales. In his speech, he will lobby the government to increase support for wireless technology to support rural communities, in addition to fixed line. Swantee said: 'Our goal is to enhance the digital lives of everyone in the UK, and this major expansion of our superfast broadband service in one of the most rural and geographically challenging areas of the country is a big step towards that goal.
'There is a lot of work to do in 2014 to reach more people and businesses in rural areas, and investment-friendly government policies have an important role to play in supporting this, but today we have proven that 4G has the capability to connect this country’s unconnected, and EE intends to continue to be at the forefront of that.'
EE plans to extend 4G to an additional 100 square miles by March 2014. Next summer, it will bring 4G to Bodmin Moor in the south west of England.
Author: Graeme Neill