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EE launches 4G home broadband antenna to connect rural homes with superfast broadband

An EE engineer installs a 4G antenna to a home in the Cumbrian North Fells Photo credit: Mark Runnacles/PA Wire

[E]E, part of BT Group, today unveiled a new 4G home broadband solution which could connect 580,000 homes across the UK, especially those in rural areas that are currently only able to access broadband slower than 10Mbps. The service will provide customers with superfast broadband speeds at home using the power of EE’s 4G network. Customer trials in the Northern Fells area of Cumbria have delivered speeds of over 100Mbps.

EE’s new 4G home broadband, which combines the 4GEE Home Router with a powerful external antenna and professional installation service, has been designed specifically as an alternative for those in rural communities that have yet to be connected with traditional fixed line broadband access – or where customers can only receive slower fixed broadband speeds.

EE has recently been trialling the solution in the Northern Fells in Cumbria, an area with dramatic topography. Currently many homes in rural Cumbria can only get limited broadband access, and EE, working with the Northern Fells Broadband initiative has worked to trial the service with users in the area.

The new solution allows customers to access EE’s superfast 4G network which currently extends to 90% of the UK’s landmass (equal to more than 99.6% of UK homes). EE predicts that there are 580,000 homes with slow or no fixed line access which could benefit from the solution – with EE continuing to roll out 4G into new areas on the way to its ambition to extend 4G coverage to 95% of the UK geography.

Max Taylor, Managing Director of Marketing, EE said: “As our network continues to expand into some of the most remote parts of the UK, we’ve seen the amazing impact that 4G connectivity can have on rural communities. Our newest 4G home broadband router and antenna takes this one step further, ensuring thousands of families in rural areas across the UK could enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband inside their home for the very first time – whether video-calling the grandparents or streaming their favourite TV series.”

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border said: “What EE is doing is transformative. One of the real challenges is getting fixed fibre into people’s houses because they are so sparsely populated in rural areas. The great thing about EE’s new solution though is that it’s wireless – allowing people to get superfast home broadband via 4G.  As the number of new mobile masts continue to roll out, more and more areas of Cumbria will come online. With access to fast broadband, people’s lives really will be transformed.”

Mal Hilton, Chairman, Northern Fells Broadband said: “This new service from EE is going to help households in some of the most isolated areas of Cumbria; areas where residents simply cannot and may never receive fibre connectivity. It is going to radically change the lives of people in this community. With fast and reliable home internet for the very first time, they can now function like everybody else in the UK.”

Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance, said: “Fast and reliable internet is just as essential in the countryside as it is in urban areas, but unfortunately it is not currently as widely available. This is a major issue for everyday life at home – students rely on a decent internet for research, parents need to bank online and thousands of rural families are missing out on a wealth of on-demand entertainment. We welcome this innovative 4G solution from EE and believe it will have a big impact on some of the most remote communities across the UK.”

4GEE Home Router & Antenna

EE’s 4GEE Home Router uses a 4G mobile signal to provide home broadband – enabling thousands of additional rural homes across the UK to enjoy the benefits of superfast home internet. With no requirement for a landline, the 4GEE Home Router is ready to go straight from the box allowing up to 32 devices to connect to it at once. The new 4GEE Home Router is EE’s fastest own brand device with enhanced wi-fi strength, making it the perfect alternative to traditional fixed broadband.

EE’s new antenna is fitted to the side of a customer’s property by EE’s professional installation provider and is connected to the 4GEE Home Router situated inside the home by a cable. This eliminates any loss of signal due to thick exterior walls, improving both the speed and consistency of the 4GEE Home Router. The antenna has been designed for use on properties with good outdoor coverage but variable indoor coverage.

The 4GEE Home Router and antenna solution offers speeds as fast as most fixed line fibre broadband services – with trial speeds showing over 100Mbps in Cumbria. Separately, independent recognition has revealed EE offers the UK’s fastest 4G, with average download speeds above 30Mbps**.

New Combined Line Checker

EE has also today launched the UK’s first fixed and mobile broadband combined coverage checker – allowing customers to see which broadband solution is most suitable for them based on their postcode – whether that’s via a fixed line or over 4G.

Pricing and availability

Available from 9 February nationwide, customers can sign up to a 4GEE Home pay monthly plan with introductory packages from £35 to £60 which include the 4GEE Home Router. Customers can add on the antenna and arrange professional installation at a convenient time for a one-off payment of £100.

If the customer has an existing EE pay monthly phone plan or 12 month SIM only plan, EE will boost their phone’s monthly data allowance by an extra 5GB.

EE has received extensive independent recognition, including being ranked the UK’s best overall network by RootMetrics®, Best Network for five years in a row at the Mobile Choice Awards, and Fastest Network and Best Network Coverage at the 2017 uSwitch Mobile Awards.

For more information, please visit www.ee.co.uk/4GEErouter

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