MP calls for Dales communities to apply for rural 3G pilot

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MP Patrick McLoughlin, has called on villages in the Derbyshire Dales to put themselves forward for a rural 3G pilot being run by Vodafone.

The telecoms firm is currently looking for 12 rural areas to test the use of femtocells as a way to boost rural 3G coverage. The trials will start early next year, extending a 3G broadband pilot run currently in West Berkshire’s East Garston.

Mr McLoughlin said: “I hope villages throughout Derbyshire Dales put themselves forward and allow us to be one of the 12 pilot schemes.”

To be selected for the pilot a village must meet the following criteria:

* A population of no more than 1,000 residents;

* Local fixed broadband speeds of not less than 1.5meg;

* No existing mobile signal.

Those interested need to get their MP to contact Vodafone to get involved.

The announcement follows a report from OFCOM that showed 3G wasn’t reaching everyone in rural areas - with 27% of people in Britain not getting coverage from all five mobile operators.