Rural groups urged to apply for improved signal scheme

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Local MLA Robin Swann is encouraging local community groups and churches to apply for the Vodafone programme to improve signal in rural community centres.

The UUP Assemblyman said the new Vodafone scheme aims to give indoor mobile coverage to up to 100 rural community hubs, from pubs to village halls and community-run shops, in mobile coverage not-spots across the entire UK.

“Community groups and churches throughout North Antrim should consider this very worthwhile scheme,” Mr Swann said.

He added: “The Community Indoor Sure Signal (CISS) programme is designed to provide reliable indoor 3G voice and data coverage and will be open to 100 rural community hubs, building on the success of Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme.

“The scheme compliments Vodafone’s expected investment of £2 billion over the next three years on improving its network and services across the UK.”

A Vodafone spokesperson added: “Following a successful pilot at the Bear and Ragged Staff pub in Bransford, near Worcester, we’re now calling for applications from rural community centres such as independent or community-run pubs and shops, village halls, scout huts, doctors’ surgeries or visitor centres, that do not currently have reliable mobile coverage.

“Successful applicants (who must be the broadband bill payer) will need an unlimited broadband package with download speeds of at least 4Mbps and upload speeds of 2Mbps and a domestic plug-in power point. The CISS unit simply plugs into a standard fixed broadband router to provide mobile coverage throughout a building, hall or shop.”

Mr Swann added: “Anything which can help communities improve their means of communication is to be warmly welcomed and I wholeheartedly encourage all relevant organisations to apply.”