Vodafone Ireland has announced that it is to undertake a new wireless home broadband access trial in four locations in rural Ireland with 5G capable technology. The aim of the trial is to explore the possibility of operating a dedicated rural wireless network where customers are connected to the internet on a Vodafone wireless broadband connection.

Vodafone will utilise new Ericsson 5G capable equipment to provide wireless access over the 3.6GHz spectrum band. This will be a network dedicated to handling only the broadband traffic of these fixed wireless customers, thereby enhancing their experience. This network could potentially allow customers to receive peak download speeds of up to 500Mbps at present, increasing to Gigabit speeds in the future.

Each trial customer will get an external antenna installed at their house which will be connected directly to a 3.6Ghz capable in home Wi-Fi router. This equipment will only pick up the dedicated wireless signal for this service and will not use the existing mobile network. The external antenna will help guarantee the best possible speeds available for each trial customer. The trial will be extended to 250 premises in an initial four locations.

The trial is set to begin in December 2018 and will be rolled out to 4 locations –  Roscommon, Gorey, Clonmel, and Dungarvan. The selected sites will cover over 20,000 premises in rural Ireland.

Over the last 10 years, Vodafone has invested over €2 billion euro across its network. This has led to significantly enhanced call and text reliability, Superfast 4G, 3G, and wider high definition voice coverage. Vodafone Ireland also tops recent independent drive tests carried out by ComReg, Ookla and P3 across voice, data and broadband services.

Speaking about the fixed wireless access trial, Max Gasparroni, Vodafone IE Interim CTO said:

“Connectivity and connected technologies are impacting every facet of our lives today and there is a huge demand all over Ireland for high speed broadband access.  Vodafone is driving forward with our ambition to create a gigabit society in Ireland, and this trial will allow us to look at how we can enhance and extend broadband access to our customers in the most rural parts of the country.”  

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