Farm at centre of new mobile technology

Mobile phone signal blackspot
Mobile phone signal blackspot

Blackerstone, near Abbey St Bathans, has found itself at the forefront of a new scheme to improve rural connectivity that incorporates cutting edge mobile server technology.

The Rural Open Sure Signal programme is a national initiative by Vodafone UK to provide reliable mobile access to up to 100 rural communities in so-called mobile not-spot locations.

And Blackerstone has earned a place in the list of the first 100 regions to be addressed.

Launched in July 2014, with support from local MPs, councils and rural action groups, the Rural Open Sure Signal programme received applications from around the country.

Blackerstone is thus far the only area in the Borders to have its communication issues addressed in this way.

As has been seen in this week’s calls by local politicians for residents to make their views on mobile coverage heard through a national consultation,rural and remote locations often miss out on the advantages provided by modern communication tools, due to the complexity of delivering network coverage. This can be because of the geography of the area or difficulties with planning permissions in places of outstanding natural beauty.

The Rural Open Sure Signal programme uses innovative ‘femtocell’ technology to provide an alternative solution to bring mobile access to locations where it isn’t possible for networks to provide coverage through traditional means.

Vodafone Sure Signal is used by many people to boost their 3G coverage. It plugs into a home broadband line.