4G 'not a substitute' for fixed line in a IP-based world

Published on: 3 June 2014
With the reliance on a high-speed and constant online connection, experts are warning nothing will offer the assurance of fixed lined connections.  Many businesses, no matter their physical location, use IP-based unified communications solutions to speed up operations with VoIP calls or video conferencing and once these features become integral to everyday responsibilities, the importance of the online connection is heightened.Last week, EE, which is the UK's largest 4G provider, said it is in the process of upgrading over 2,500 small towns and villages to 4G, while Vodafone aims to achieve 98 per cent coverage next year.However, rural business broadband activists have warned 4G should not be seen as a replacement for fixed broadband.Christine Conder, a founder member of Broadband for the Rural North, told Cable.co.uk: "It would be great to have 4G, but not as a substitute for a fixed connection", while Paul Dixon from Action for Rural with Communities in Rural England said: "The rollout of 4G is a positive thing. It means another option for rural areas and will help those who need to use the internet to conduct a business, communicate with others etc."But it is not an alternative to fixed broadband - it's one of a mixture of options that people can use to get online."Indeed, the government recognises the importance of online communications and operations, and its Broadband Delivery UK project aims to bring speeds of over 24Mbps to 95 per cent of Great Britain within the next three years.The issue with using 4G as a substitute in the remaining five per cent is data allowance. Although speeds will be on par with 4G, businesses in rural areas will be limited by their usage, unless they want to pay a premium, meaning that the rest of the country can enjoy VoIP calls and video conferencing but they will be left behind.

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