We're bringing our pioneering Open Sure Signal technology to 100 new rural communities in the UK. But why do we need #ROSS100 in the first place? Read on to find out.
Do you live in a rural community with little or no phone signal? #ROSS100, or the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme, could help. We’re on the lookout for 100 new UK rural communities to allow us to deploy our pioneering Open Sure Signal technology in their communities so they can get reliable 3G mobile coverage for the first time – and applications are open right now.
How do you bring mobile signal to a place where there is none? Easy: all you need is a bit of tech wizardry and the help of the local community…
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The new programme comes off the back of our initial Open Sure Signal trial, which has seen our 3G coverage land in 12 rural communities across the UK. But how did we get here, what comes next and why do we need this system in the first place? We’ve been chatting to the man in the know, our own Dr Rob Matthews, to find out.
Your questions answered
“Why are we doing #ROSS100?” Rob asks rhetorically. “Well, when we first set out on our journey to achieve 98% UK population coverage using 2G, 3G and 4G two years ago, we soon realised that we wanted to stretch our coverage even further.
“There may be historical reasons why we’ve not been able to do that, such as we can’t get planning permission because it means putting a mast in an area of outstanding natural beauty, we can’t find a suitable site, or there are land owners that don’t want a mobile mast on their land.
“We’re spending £1 billion on our existing network and services this year.”
“So when we started looking to drive our coverage into more areas, we worked on being able to take the femtocell technology that powers our domestic Vodafone Sure Signal devices outdoors, make it waterproof, and open it up for all Vodafone customers. The original Rural Open Sure Signal trial was such a success that we’re now taking applications for 100 new rural communities.”
So that’s the #ROSS100 story so far, but what comes next, and why are we doing things the way we currently are? There are a few big questions about the trial – the ones we get asked on a regular basis – so we decided to put them to Dr Rob:
Why isn’t there signal everywhere in the UK as standard?
“We’re spending £1 billion on our existing network and services this year. However, as I previously mentioned before, we can sometime struggle to deliver coverage with traditional means. It’s also very clear that our customers expect a universal phone service much like we get with gas or electricity.
“However, we are aways trying to resolve this so we developed Vodafone Open Sure Signal. The beauty of the product and of our Rural Open Sure Signal programme is that it enables us to bring 3G coverage to rural communities using non-traditional methods. It also means we can work in partnership with local communities and MPs to bring coverage to communities who desperately want it.
Why can’t we put Open Sure Signal everywhere?
“Rural Open Sure Signal uses existing broadband to deliver signal, and ideally needs speeds of around 4mbps. Although we know that BT and the other internet service providers are currently rolling out broadband across the UK, some areas of the UK may not be quick enough to power it at the moment. However as a business, we also continue to innovate – it’s about creating a suite of products that can cover a wide range of situations and bring strong coverage to our customers.”
Is #ROSS100 a trial, or is the Open Sure Signal technology a finished product?
“We’re constantly developing, learning and improving as we go along. I’m sure that with #ROSS100, there will be challenges that we haven’t seen before.
“We’re going to continue to learn with these next 100 villages as we did with the initial 12. Each and every one of the new locations will, undoubtedly, present a new type of challenge. Whether it’s the type of building that we’ve got to mount the antennas on, the cables we’ve got to run through the village or anything else – I’m convinced that no two deployments will be the same. But I am absolutely confident the results will be fantastic for each of the lucky communities in which we do deploy Open Sure Signal.”
If you’re interested in helping your rural community get better phone signal, head to vodafone.co.uk/rural for all the information you need to apply.
The Open Sure Signal difference… To see how the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme can make a big change to rural communities, check out our case study from Cranborne, Dorset.