Pub is the Hub and Vodafone launch pilot to save rural pubs.
Following on from the success of their Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) programme Vodafone have partnered with specialist advisors Pub in the Hub to help rejuvenate rural pubs using the same groundbreaking technology.
Pubs have been the cornerstone of the British culture providing not just beverages and food but essential community spaces that can operate as social hubs for local residents. As Kris Hopkins, Community Pubs Minister states "Pubs play an important role in our local communities. A cornerstone of British culture it is estimated that the average pub is estimated to contribute £80,000 to the economy annually." However, in what has been labelled by some as the 'tragic demise of the British Pub Industry', the UK public house network has seen over 20,000 public houses close in the UK since the 1980's.
Founded in the UK in 1984 Vodafone are an original British brand, and an integral part of the UK culture having triumphed in telecommunications with a series of industry firsts, such as the first UK cellular call being made on 1st January 1985. As such they have a unique insight into the importance of striving to maintain the UK pubs and thus have launched the Rural Community Pub programme, to inject lifeblood into rural community pubs.
Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone UK Chief Technology Officer, said: "We are delighted to be able to help these rural pubs extend and broaden the vital range of services they provide to the communities they serve through the use of the latest mobile technology. Pubs up and down the UK are key to the economic and social well-being of rural communities and the country. By combining our innovative programmes, such as Rural Community Pubs and ROSS, with our current network improvement programme, we are calling time on no rural mobile coverage."
Using the same technology utilised for successfully tackling the rural 'not spots', Vodafone will install Premium Sure Signals in four pubs initially, two in Norfolk and two in Wales, as part of the pilot scheme. These 'femtocell' units utilise the existing broadband connectivity to provide strong indoor 3G coverage.
Already live at The Cross Keys in Dilham, Norfolk Paul Grothier, Landlord at The Cross Keys in Dilham commented: "I'm really proud that The Cross Keys is the first pub to go live on the trial. Dilham is an area with very little mobile coverage and being on the Norfolk Broads, we get a lot of holiday makers coming into the pub who have previously been disappointed by the lack of coverage. Since the technology has gone live, the pub now has fantastic 3G coverage and fast data speeds. My customers, staff and business are reaping the benefits."
*Department of Communities and Local Government (January 2015)www.gov.uk/government/speeches/community-pubs