The town of Minchinhampton, in Gloucestershire, has been named as the first community to receive 3G mobile coverage in a programme to open up communications in “not-spot” areas.
It is the first of 30 communities across the country, from St Andrews in the Orkney Islands to Chesil Bank in Dorset, to join the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal Programme. The programme is being implemented for those areas that currently struggle to get reliable internet and mobile phone services, one of which is the town of Minchinhampton, located in the Cotswolds.
Units using Open Sure Signal technology will be installed in key locations around the town to boost reception for Vodafone customers.
The company aims to connect up to 100 rural communities in the next year and has pledged to provide mobile coverage for 98% of the UK population.
Vodafone UK chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp said: “Mobile connectivity is an essential service for communities and businesses to thrive in today’s digital world and support local economies. I am delighted to announce Minchinhampton as the first of the 100 communities we will light up.”
The names of the other 29 in the first wave of communities to join the Rural Open Sure Signal programme have also been announced.
Launched in July 2014, with support from local MPs, councils and rural action groups, the programme has received an overwhelming response from around the country.