Vodafone to begin trial of wireless broadband in rural areas
Vodafone Ireland is to undertake a new wireless home broadband access trial in four locations in rural Ireland with ‘5G-capable’ technology. The aim of the trial is to explore the possibility of operating a dedicated rural wireless network where customers are connected to the internet on a Vodafone wireless broadband connection.
Vodafone will use Ericsson 5G-capable equipment to provide wireless access over the 3.6GHz spectrum band. This will be a network dedicated to handling only the broadband traffic of these fixed wireless customers, thereby enhancing their experience. This network could potentially allow customers receive peak download speeds of up to 500Mb/s at present, increasing to Gigabit speeds in the future.
Each trial participant will get an external antenna installed at their house which will be connected directly to a 3.6Ghz capable in home Wi-Fi router. This equipment will only pick up the dedicated wireless signal for this service and will not use the existing mobile network. The external antenna will help guarantee the best possible speeds available for each trial customer. The trial will be extended to 250 premises in an initial four locations.
The trial is set to begin in December 2018 and will be rolled out to four locations – Roscommon, Gorey, Clonmel and Dungarvan. The selected sites will cover more than 20,000 premises in rural Ireland.
Max Gasparroni, Vodafone IE Interim CTO, said: “Connectivity and connected technologies are impacting every facet of our lives today and there is a huge demand all over Ireland for high speed broadband access. Vodafone is driving forward with our ambition to create a gigabit society in Ireland, and this trial will allow us to look at how we can enhance and extend broadband access to our customers in the most rural parts of the country.”