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EE unveils shoebox-sized router to boost Brit bumpkin broadband

Speeds of 100Mbps to reach rural areas – for a fee

By Kat Hall

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EE is launching a "shoebox"-sized 4G antenna, which it claims could bring coverage to 580,000 UK homes in rural areas.

The 4GEE Home Router contains an external antenna, which can be fixed to the outside of houses and is connected to the 4GEE Home Router in the home via a cable.

It is intended for areas receiving poor broadband connectivity. EE claims it delivered 100Mbps to homes during a trial in Cumbria.

EE will charge people £100 to have a broadband antenna installed on their home, or make it available under a contract.

Kester Mann, analyst at CCS, said the move could be "a significant development".

"EE have a drive to improve the coverage of its network, which is aligned with its campaign last year [to launch balloon and drone air masts]."

EE has said its 4G network can reach 90 per cent of the UK, which should hit 95 per cent by 2020.

According to Ofcom, just over a million premises in Blighty, or 4 per cent, cannot get speeds of 10Mbps.

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border, welcomed the announcement: "One of the real challenges is getting fixed fibre into people's houses because they are so sparsely populated in rural areas.

"As the number of new mobile masts continue to roll out, more and more areas of Cumbria will come online. With access to fast broadband, people's lives really will be transformed."

The service is available from today. Customers can sign up to a 4GEE Home pay-monthly plan with introductory packages from £35 to £60, which include the 4GEE Home Router, or pay the one-off fee of £100.

It said if the customer has an existing EE pay-monthly phone plan or 12-month SIM-only plan, EE will boost their phone's monthly data allowance by an extra 5GB. ®

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