VMO2 taps Starlink’s LEO satellites to boost SRN rollout

VMO2 taps Starlink’s LEO satellites to boost SRN rollout

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Virgin Media is using Starlink’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology to provide mobile backhaul for some of the country’s most remote locations to accelerate its Shared Rural Network (SRN) rollout.

The operator has deployed the Starlink mobile backhaul solution to sites in the Scottish Highlands which are difficult or impossible to connect using standard technologies such as fibre or microwave connections.

Jeanie York, chief technology officer at Virgin Media O2 said: “We’re leaving no stone unturned when it comes to improving rural connectivity and are continuously looking for new ways to boost signal in remote areas.

“Our commitment to delivering on our part of the Shared Rural Network programme has seen us turn first to helicopters and now to satellites to connect some of the most difficult and remote parts of the country.

“By constantly finding new ways to deliver for our customers, we are bringing reliable mobile coverage to rural communities faster and helping to close the UK’s digital divide.”

Typically, mobile phone masts requite fibre cable to carry calls, SMS and data to and from the phone mast, but that is not viable in extremely remote locations.

Instead, a network of LEO satellites is providing backhaul to the masts, enabling VMO2 to provide reliable mobile network to the areas.

The rollout of the satellite connections to these locations follows testing and a recent trial in northern Scotland that proved how satellites can be used to carry mobile traffic to and from mobile masts in remote locations.

This is the latest development in VMO2’s push to improve mobile signal in rural communities through the Shared Rural Network programme. The operator recently used helicopters to deliver its 100th SRN site to the remote Scottish island of Skye.

This project has been delivered in collaboration with shareholder, Telefónica Global Solutions (TGS), which is an official Starlink reseller.

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