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3 Mobile praised for Kaber mobile broadband project
Service provider 3 Mobile has been praised for rolling out free mobile broadband in the village of Kaber.Network operator 3 Mobile's decision to offer free mobile broadband access in the Eden village of Kaber has been welcomed by the East Cumbria Community Broadband Forum.
The service provider chose the remote hamlet as the second place in the UK to benefit from its nationwide mobile broadband scheme, which aims to illustrate how 3G technology can help bring high-speed connectivity to rural communities.
Residents in Kaber have been given 3G dongles and MiFi devices, which can transmit mobile broadband signals to multiple wireless-enabled gadgets simultaneously.
Speaking to the Westmorland Gazette, Mike Bridway - a member of the broadband forum who lives in the village - said the majority of his fellow residents were only previously able to access dial-up internet services.
While these offer speeds of less than 0.5Mbps, the free mobile broadband trial allows participants to enjoy theoretical speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.
As well as issuing the MiFi units and dongles free of charge, 3 Mobile has rolled out a no-cost Wi-Fi connection at the village hall, allowing people to use the civic building to carry out important online tasks. Both of these services will be free for 12 months.
"You can't put a price on how important rural broadband is for us," Mr Bridway commented. "More and more functions are happening online and if you don't have it you are in danger of being left behind."
Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, has been campaigning to bring faster broadband connectivity to his constituency and has expressed confidence that this project in Kaber will deliver massive benefits to the area.
The initiative has also been praised by the Countryside Alliance, which has repeatedly warned that the digital divide between urban and rural parts of the UK will grow unless improved broadband services are rolled out away from towns and cities.