BT’s mobile arm EE is to offer broadband to more than half a million of Britain’s most remote homes, in a sign of increasing convergence of the telecoms giant’s fixed line and wireless services.
A new antenna will be fitted on the outside of subscriber properties to secure a reliable connection for EE’s 4G network in rural areas where thick stone walls can block mobile signals indoors. A router connected to the antenna will beam a Wi-Fi signal throughout the home.
EE said the service could cover up to 580,000 remote properties that are too far from a BT exchange to get fixed-line broadband faster than 10 megabits per second, the minimum standard needed for normal internet use according to Ofcom.
The operator’s 4G network has provided more than 100 megabits per second in trials of the new antenna in the Cumbrian Fells.
Marc Allera, chief executive of BT’s consumer business, said the commercial introduction of a new alternative to fixed-line broadband demonstrated EE’s ambition to provide mobile coverage even in the most remote locations.
The operator is in the midst of a major network expansion, in part driven by the rollout of the Emergency Services Network, a new communications system for police, paramedics and fire crews, based on EE’s 4G signal. EE says it currently covers 90pc of UK landmass and is targeting 95pc by 2020.