Wi-Fi Calling to solve indoor coverage issues in rural areas

18 Dec 2018

Image: © Kirill/Stock.adobe.com

Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce report shows a lot done but a lot more to do.

Two of the three mobile operators in Ireland will have launched Wi-Fi Calling services in rural Ireland by the end of Q1 2019.

That’s according to the latest progress report of the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce Implementation Group.

‘The people living in poorly served areas must remain our focus as we progress this work’

It said that mobile operators are gradually introducing Wi-Fi Calling to enable mobile users to make indoor phone calls over broadband services. While this relies upon having a high-speed broadband connection – a major problem in rural Ireland – operators who have introduced this service see a very strong take-up by customers.

Wi-Fi Calling supports higher-quality calls and connects them faster than over the traditional mobile phone coverage network. In rural areas, Wi-Fi Calling can address poor indoor coverage issues.

A recent ComReg report on coverage in rural areas revealed that insulation in homes, while it keeps the heat in, can often block radio signals, affecting voice and data quality.

Longford calling

According to the latest report, Implementation Group members addressed a number of significant actions in 2018, including reviews of planning practices, fees and legislation, the installation of new fibre-ready ducting along the national roads network, and a scheme to allow the use of mobile phone repeaters in the home.

“We have come a long way in the last two years, with a number of actions delivered that are directly contributing to improving mobile phone and broadband coverage throughout rural Ireland,” said the Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Seán Canney, TD.

Canney added: “We need to keep at the forefront of everything we do [for] those people who do not currently have access to high-speed broadband.

“The people living in poorly served areas must remain our focus as we progress this work, and ensuring access to quality mobile and broadband services must remain our number one priority as we support the development of our regions.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years