North Norfolk's beauty makes it a wonderful place to be, but also a difficult place to get signal. Thankfully, Vodafone has a solution...
North Norfolk – home to unspoiled beaches, market towns, long stretches of coast lines and vast expanses of farming country – will make you want to capture the beauty and share with your friends, family and the world, whether you call it home, or you’re just visiting.
And to do this you’ll need a reliable 3G signal, but as we’ve uncovered in our interviews with Vodafone UK’s Petek Ergul, and resident networks guru Dr Rob Matthews, some parts of the country are decidedly more difficult to bring consistent network coverage to than others.
The coverage conundrum
One such part of the country is north Norfolk. Why? Because the whole of this stretch of coastline is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which makes it both an idyllic place to live, and a real challenge to try and get a consistent signal. Thankfully, there is an answer in the shape of our Rural Open Sure Signal programme (ROSS 100), which has brought reliable 3G coverage to High Kelling for the first time.
With our network team having recently been in High Kelling to get ROSS up and running, we thought it was time to see how the community was getting on with their recently installed tech. And what better way to do that than with a tour around the village?
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As the hub of this small community, the High Kelling Village Hall was the perfect site to install the first of our Rural Open Sure Signal boxes. Sitting quietly on the chimney stack, the ROSS box means that everyone who visits the centre – a regular occurrence for the most of the village – can make crystal clear phone calls as well as access the mobile internet.
As some of High Kelling’s residents explained, part of the attraction of this part of north Norfolk is its separation from the humdrum of modern life, but it’s still important to be connected, for a number of reasons. We arrived at the village hall to meet with Robin Johnson – High Kelling’s ‘community champion’ for the ROSS project, and also the chairman of the parish council.
“More than 60% of our community is aged 60 or over,” explains Robin, “so good communications are important for both emergency purposes, and in keeping touch with our family and friends. So the #ROSS100 project has made a significant improvement to what we had before.”
The village hall isn’t the only place the people of High Kelling can now get a signal. There’s another ROSS box sitting almost incognito on the side of the local Post Office, and two more spread around the village for maximum coverage. All that means that even in the summer, when the leaves on the trees can cause havoc with mobile signal, the people of High Kelling can contact friends, loved ones, and the emergency services if necessary.
Back at Vodafone’s HQ, Dr Rob explains he’s not surprised about the comments coming back from High Kelling and explained why areas like Norfolk currently need a bit of creative thinking when it comes to delivering reliable coverage to our customers.
“We obviously want the best coverage possible for our customers, but it’s not always possible easy to make this happen for all sorts of reasons. For example, geography of the region means we’d need to place a large amount of masts for the area to see blanket coverage. This isn’t possible in areas that lack the required broadband and that’s before you take into consideration the various planning permissions we’re faced with when placing masts in areas of outstanding natural beauty.
“With ROSS technology we’re able to provide a solution to these types of challenges.”
“With ROSS technology we’re able to provide a solution to these types of challenges. We’ve now got a number of ROSS communities across north Norfolk and the programme has been hugely popular. It’s great that these rural communities are already seeing the significant benefit of the technology.”
Sending out the right signals
With High Kelling and nearby Blakeney now up and running as part of the #ROSS100 project , we’re one step closer to helping the people of north Norfolk stay safe and connected. Stay tuned to Vodafone Social for all the latest in our journey to bring signal to the furthest reaches of the UK!
Understanding your signal: Want to know the ins and outs of our network and find out how phone signal works? You can find all you need to know right here.