4G Broadband for Rural Areas

Hi all

Sorry for the following essay, but please bear with me…

After yesterdays 2 hours of conversations with BT it appears that reliable “SLOW” Broadband is not possible to our home via the BT/OpenReach network and the new Fibre infrastructure that was installed 3+ years ago that terminates right outside our home cannot be activated. Apparently they don’t know how to survey and measure distance, as it is too far from the cabinet to be viable :man_shrugging:t4: :man_facepalming:t4:

The Broadband Support Team operative suggested that we should consider alternative services. Community Funded Fibre is out of the question as we do not have enough people in our community to split the cost over at a reasonable level and standard 4G isn’t possible either, as we do not get a strong enough signal from any of the service providers.

I did however find a company called National Broadband. They claim, with their focused receiving antenna, that we should be able to get 25mbs for £29.99/month with no data limits.

Have any of you come across these guys and perhaps used their services?
Is this too good to be true?

If you have reasonable reception on your mobile phone you should be able to get 4G, or 5G if available, via a normal mobile operator, an external antenna can be fitted to the router which can be very effective. As I’m not in the UK I’ve no experience of that company.

Yeah, the External Antenna option is what they offer. Our regular 4G/5G service is really poor, but apparently we do have enough signal outside for their antenna to work with.

I went for a Starlink dish for my rural location in mid Sussex, UK and have been very pleased with it. Not cheap (£75 pcm), but speeds are significantly better than my old FTTC gave me.

I went from ~28 down / ~8.2 up to ~150-200 down, 10-20 up. Ping is fine for video calls etc, but probably not good enough for gaming (which I don’t do).

You can just buy an external antenna and plug it into a regular 4G modem as supplied by the likes of 3 or EE.
You have little to lose by signing up to one of these regular 4G providers as you can try it, and just cancel and return the modem if it doesn’t work.
I did this with 3 a few months ago, as their service worked reasonably well in our house until peak evening times, then crashed down to 1 or 2 meg and became unusable.

These guys provide full installation and a 14 day 100% money back guarantee.
To be fair, even if we only get 10 down and 2 up it would be 10x better than we get now and they do all the SP signal strength tests and point us at the best mast etc…:man_shrugging:t2:

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Maybe worth a try. With 3 we got around 30 meg and it was only £20 a month, with a £10 deal for the first 6 months. Our nearest antenna is only a few hundred meters away with no obstructions and we got a full strength signal, although if we had kept it I’d still have bought an external antenna.

As per others advice. I’d see who provides best mobile coverage in your area and go with them. Most mobile companies offer a service to cover areas where BT/Others don’t deliver.

A member of my family has improved from less than 1 Mb with BT/Sky/Talk Talk over wires to a constant 25Mb service via 4G; they live in rural Dumfries and Galloway. Price is around £20-£25. Note mobile companies may charge a different amount depending on usage. Also they don’t advertise these services widely so may be worthwhile looking around their website.

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Not sure if this helps.
My static caravan (Sewerby - East Yorkshire) for the past 5 years or so I’ve been using a Teltonica RUT950 4G (currently with an unlimited O2 data SIM) router within a Qumax directional antenna enclosure.
24v passive PoE adaptor feeds the RUT on the roof of the van via CAT5 cable and on the back end within the van a basic router giving 2.4ghz Wi-Fi.
Quiet times around 20-25mb, busy times 8-10mb download - my girls are happy campers :wink:

Is Starlink an option where you guys are I know a lot folks here up the valley use and it’s cheap and reliable.

My wired internet went down last week for a few days, in the interim I used my iPhone as a hotspot which actually worked ok although I only get 1 or 2 bars of 4G where I live. The NDX2 connected to it ok but I thought it sounded a little edgy and not quiet right when streaming radio or Qobuz. I’m interested in trying a proper 5G router with an ext antenna to see how it fairs as my telco are a nightmare to deal with. Anyway in the interim they fixed the fault which turned out to be a corroded contact on the port in the local fibre cabinet, they changed the port apparently, all sounding really good now and I’ve noticed there’s zero jitter whereas before there was always something when I speed tested with Ookla.

Well, we have had no BT connection since about 10am now and that includes the phone line.:man_shrugging:t2:
What’s more, my 4G performance via my iPhone is totally sucking today. :man_facepalming:t2:
Thankfully I have a new toy, PS1 SCHP1002 hooked up as a CD player, to play with. So no need for streaming this afternoon.
I think I’m going to try this National Broadband solution next week.

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I know someone who’s using Starlink with excellent results (150mb) and they have an offer on at the moment

Presumably National Broadband are a middleman between you and the existing 4G networks. How much of a premium do they charge for setting you up compared to going direct to 3 or EE, for example?

Their costs are really decent.
£299 setup including installation of the router and the antenna. Then it’s just £29.99 a month, but includes a 14 day full refund policy.
The primary difference is the contract term, but for that you get unlimited service. Whereas all of the direct provider solutions are limited and cost more per month.
EE for instance is £40/month limited to 125GB

So, another 25 minute conversation with BT has resulted in the BB coming back to life mysteriously without the girl doing anything :man_shrugging:t2:
They are now talking with the loyalty team to get me out of this contract without penalty🤞🏼

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The 3 service I tried was cheap, £20 a month with no upfront costs and unlimited data, quite a lot cheaper than EE. My regular mobile contract is with them and it works fine, so it was annoying that they couldn’t provide a home broadband service that was reliable.

No 3 signal here I’m afraid :man_shrugging:t2:

I used EE mobile data for a while, EE having the best (not great but best) signal in our area, using a Teltonica RUT 4G router thingy, with an external antenna which made a HUGE difference. Without the external antenna which I mounted on the same pole as my Sky satellite dish, the signal was borderline. With the external antenna it was good to very good and the speed I received went up massively.
I ran that system for a couple of years until Gigaclear installed fibre to our house.
Bear in mind that even “unlimited data” contracts tend to have a “fair use” policy, which I guess means if you really are hitting high usage, they might “throttle” your speed downwards.
Mine was initially limited data and when all computers updated, I could find myself out of data purely due to those updates…

WE’RE FREE!!:partying_face:
…and no cancellation charge😁
BT finally caved and let us out of our contract without penalty charges.
Also, the new 4G Router, external Antenna and mounting kit arrived today.
Just waiting for the new system engineers to call me to set a date for installation.
This time next week, I could be streaming in HiRes…:grin: