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April 27, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 10:44am

EE partners with open source tech innovators to boost connectivity in rural areas

News: University of Highlands and Islands will be the first to get access to open source network development kits.

By CBR Staff Writer

EE has collaborated with Lime Micro and Canonical on an open source project set to boost connectivity in rural areas.

The fully programmable network capability is based on Lime Micro’s network-in-a-box solution, LimeSDR, which was launched earlier this year.

EE now has exclusive rights to the technology in the UK. The LimeSDR is a low cost apps-enabled software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be programmed to support any type of wireless standard.

The configuration software lets users configure it to offer any wireless service like 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as develop new applications and services for a mobile network.

EE plans to deploy the new solutions created by the partnership as part of its work with the Telecom Infrastructure Project, which intends to connect remote areas of Scotland to mobile networks

The first project plans to connect an area of the Scottish Highlands and Islands in this year. To start the process, EE and Lime Micro are providing the programmable development kit to the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness.

The University of the Highlands and Island principal and vice-chancellor Clive Mulholland said: "The technology could be particularly relevant to our work in remote and rural health and digital innovation."

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EE radio networks director Mansoor Hanif said: "Apps and smartphones revolutionised the mobile experience and this could have the same impact on the network – we’re allowing anyone to build an app that can introduce a new service or a new capability to a mobile network.

"That could be to connect a rural area of the UK for the first time, or to be part of designing how 5G works. This type of innovation is vital to evolving wireless networks, and we’re making sure that the UK is at the forefront of that."

EE runs the UK’s biggest and fastest mobile network. It serves over 31 million connections across its mobile, fixed and wholesale networks.

The company plans to roll out 4G to 95% of the UK. The expansion of its coverage, which currently reaches 60% of the UK landmass, intends to eliminate areas with no coverage, or ‘not-spots’, in rural areas.


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