The local pub is the heart of every community, which is why we're kicking off a pilot programme to give some of the UK's best boozers better signal...
The local pub has been a mainstay in British culture since before the term ‘British’ even existed, and they remain an integral part of many rural communities. And that’s why we’re pouring some of our £2 billion investment in our network and services into a brand new pilot programme designed to bring reliable Vodafone indoor 3G coverage to a raft of great locals around the UK.
The Pub is the hub
Did you know that the average pub is estimated to contribute £80,000 to the economy every year? That’s serious business: but the problem comes when locals expect something they can’t get – namely, a good signal in the pub, to call and invite their mates down, book that taxi, post a quick pic on Facebook of the guest and of the month – or even cheat on the pub quiz.
We know that for many people in smaller communities around the UK, the local pub is far more than just a watering hole, it’s the hub; the nerve centre of the village, which is why it’s so important to help the ones in geographical not-spots to get connected.
Enter the Rural Community Pub programme, a pilot to run in four village pubs – two in Norfolk and two in Wales – that have or will soon benefit from reliable Vodafone 3G signal throughout, thanks to our pioneering Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) tech. Whilst ROSS uses ‘femto’ technology boxes connected to an existing broadband and placed on buildings across a village, the pub pilot uses a dedicated femto box placed inside the pub. .
So far, two Norfolk pubs, The Cross Keys in Dilham and The Mermaid Inn in Elsing, are feeling the benefit of reliable 3G coverage and what it can do for both their business and locals, with two more – The Blue Bell in Halkyn, Flintshire and The Royal Oak, Rhandirmwyn, Llandovery, Dyfed – set to go live in the next few months.
Calling time on a bitter reception
We caught up Paul Gorthian, landlord at The Cross Keys in Dilham, Norfolk, to find out how having a reliable means to connect with the world has changed things for the better:
“Before this system came in, we had no signal at all,” explains Paul. “Vodafone is now the only network around here, but before this, trying to use you mobile phone to call or go on the internet was a waste of time.”
And that was a real problem for business: “We get some many people coming from cities, who assume they can pick up signal here, but can’t. In the past we’d have people coming in here because we advertised free cloud Wi-Fi, but when that broke, they’d leave.
“When we get to the summer season we’ll definitely get people staying here because of the added mobile signal,” he says, “so it’s big news for us. My only worry is people cheating on the pub quiz!”
And Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer, Jorge Fernandes, agrees that the Rural Community Pub programme is ‘big news’, explaining that with this pilot, “we want to call time on no mobile coverage, not have time called on the pub and village life.
“Pubs up and down the UK are key to the economic and social well-being of rural communities and the country,” he says.
“So we’re delighted to be able to help these rural pubs extend and broaden the vital range of services they provide the communities they serve through the use of the latest mobile technology.”
The Rural Community Pubs programme, and what we’ve already achieved with #ROSS100, sits alongside our massive investment in improving our UK infrastructure, where we’re aiming to bring 4G to thousands of smaller communities, as well as the larger towns and cities our 4G network already serves. You can read more about that journey here.
So if you live in Norfolk or Flintshire or are planning to visit soon, don’t stay ‘inn’, make sure you get stout and about and visit one of our Rural Community Pubs – and make use of the indoor ROSS technology.
All about ROSS… Find out all about how our Rural Open Sure Signal solution – Rural Community Pubs programme’s big brother – and how it works here…