Antenna could boost broadband speed for 80,000 rural homes
Rural homes in Scotland could access superfast broadband through a new 4G antenna rather than underground cables.
Mobile provider EE has trialled the service in Cumbria and believes it could connect 80,000 rural homes in Scotland to much faster internet speeds.
The company, part of BT Group, installed routers along with an external antenna to connect to its 4G network and recorded internet speeds over 100Mbps in the Northern Fells area of Cumbria.
It said the scheme has been designed specifically as an alternative for those in rural communities that have yet to be connected with traditional fixed line broadband access.
Campaigners have argued that poor broadband and mobile coverage is a barrier to economic growth in parts of Scotland, with weak connectivity making it more difficult to attract people to live and work in remote and rural areas.
EE now plans to sell the service, with customers charged £100 to have a broadband antenna installed on their home, and monthly data plans ranging from £35 to £60 a month.
EE's 4G network covers 90% of the UK's landmass and the company said there are 80,000 rural homes in Scotland which could benefit from the solution.
Managing director of marketing, Max Taylor, 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."