The Parish Council has learned of a new opportunity which may improve mobile coverage in the village for all users of the EE Network and provide emergency coverage for everyone without the need for a mast.
EE’s Micro Network uses small aerials which are 50cm high and 18cm wide and are fixed to buildings and could link to the main network through either existing masts or the new Gigaclear fibre system. The installation also has some other electrical components associated with it which are located in a cabinet at ground level.
In order for EE to consider such a project in Chedworth there must be ‘community agreement’ to take part in the scheme and Iain Robertson, who recently attended a meeting at the county council when the idea was raised, is currently investigating exactly what agreement EE would require.
The aerials would provide outdoor voice and data on 3G and 4G and indoor coverage to most properties. While it would only be available for customers who use the EE network, it would give all mobile phone users access to emergency services which automatically connects to any available network even if the handset shows ‘no signal’. The EE network is used not only by EE but also BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile, ASDA Mobile and Co-operative Mobile as well as a number of smaller providers.
It is still early days with this opportunity and the exact number of aerials required and their location is not yet known. It would be interesting to hear from anyone with a property in a poor area of mobile phone signal who would potentially be willing to have such an aerials installed on their building. EE requires free sites and mains power but reimburses the costs of any power use.
Since the Government’s Mobile Infrastructure Programme came to an end there has been no government finance available to improve mobile coverage in areas such as Chedworth. The current policy direction appears to be one of requiring the four main network operators to invest in coverage improvement as part of their licence conditions.
The parish council has continued to look at ways to address the problem and a discussion paper which investigates the various options is available on our website.
We will be discussing the idea of putting Chedworth forward for the EE Micro Network at our meeting on 8th August.