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Rural Britons Get High-Speed Broadband For The First Time

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Britons living in one of the UK's most rural regions have been given access to high-speed 4G services for the first time.

Homes and businesses across much of the Northern Fells in Cumbria will now be able to receive "superfast" broadband which delivers speeds of between 8Mbps and 12Mbps, EE said.

More than 2,000 people in the region are expected to have 4G access by the summer.

The service will be available to 84% of the population in the area, which covers 100 square miles, and is expected to enable users to surf the web much more quickly on mobile phones.

Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and Borders, said: "This is a major step forward for my constituents.

"Superfast broadband is making a massive difference to the way that people live their lives and do business.

"The 4G trial that started last year has already made a substantial difference to people in the Northern Fells community, and it is a hugely positive step to see this being moved to a full launch over the coming months."

EE, which was formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, was the first company to offer a 4G network in the UK and others are expected to follow suit later this year.

For the typical user, download speeds of initial 4G networks should be at least five to seven times faster than those for existing 3G networks.

Olaf Swantee, EE's chief executive officer, said the company was "overcoming the challenges" associated with delivering high-speed services in rural areas.

He said: "This is yet another big step in advancing digital communications in the UK.

"We're offering one of the fastest mobile networks in the world, and are pioneering how to make superfast broadband available to homes and businesses that currently have little or no connectivity."

EE, formerly known as Everything Everywhere, said it would now consider further developments which could benefit those living in rural regions.

It plans to extend the service - already available in 37 towns and cities - to 72 locations by June.