The Wortwell Bell Inn in Harleston, South Norfolk is the first community hub to go live in Vodafone’s Community Indoor Sure Signal programme. Vodafone has installed an innovative mini-mast inside the pub, bringing reliable mobile voice and data capability to staff and customers.
Reliable indoor coverage can be difficult to achieve in certain buildings, including older properties with thick walls or those located in extreme rural and remote areas. The CISS (Community Indoor Sure Signal) programme is focused on bringing Vodafone indoor coverage to 100 community hubs, such as pubs, village halls and community centres, across the country.
The femtocell technology used in CISS is similar to that deployed by Vodafone in its Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme, which brought 3G coverage to 84 rural not-spots across the country including 12 across Norfolk. The units - about the size of a standard domestic broadband router - provide 3G mobile coverage throughout a building when connected to an existing broadband line.
Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer, said: ‘Community hubs, like pubs and village halls, across the UK play an important part in rural life and supporting the local economy. We want to ensure all our customers can enjoy the benefits of mobile connectivity wherever they are but appreciate there are some communities which will take longer to get to using traditional methods. We remain committed to innovative programmes, like ROSS and CISS, which help bring coverage to communities who need it.’
Chris Shore, landlord of The Wortwell Bell added: ‘The Vodafone Sure Signal unit is benefitting both our customers and our business. As keeping in touch is so important to everyone these days, having a reliable 3G signal is fantastic for our village pub.’
Vodafone is still accepting applications for the CISS programme. In order for the technology to work, the rural community centre requires an existing broadband connection with unlimited broadband package, download speeds of at least 4Mbps download and 2Mbps upload speeds and a power source (normal 3-pin plug).
Also still in operation is Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme. Launched in 2014, it places small ROSS boxes on buildings throughout rural communities. 84 communities are now live across the country.