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Freshwave brings mobile private networks to Verdant Leisure parks in a first for Scotland

  • Guests and owners at Verdant Leisure’s Erigmore and Thurston Manor parks can enjoy superior broadband connectivity, with Pease Bay and additional parks benefitting soon
  • The 4G mobile private network uses Vodafone’s spectrum, which it previously agreed to share with Freshwave, in a first for a Scottish holiday park operator

Verdant Leisure guests and owners staying at Erigmore or Thurston Manor Leisure parks can now enjoy improved wireless connectivity on a 4G mobile private network. Leading UK network service provider Freshwave, working with telecoms reseller Online Systems, have designed, built and now manage the 4G mobile private network using outdoor small cell technology.

In a first for a Scottish holiday park, the private network is sharing Vodafone’s 4G spectrum. Vodafone agreed to share some of its spectrum with Freshwave in 2019 to help offer high-speed broadband in areas without 4G connectivity, as well as to promote efficient use of its spectrum. Freshwave was the first business in the UK to acquire a Local Access Licence through Ofcom’s “Enabling wireless innovation through local licensing” framework.

Bev Dixon, Chief Operating Officer at Verdant Leisure, says: “With our parks busier than ever due to the staycation boom, it’s great to be welcoming so many owners and guests. We’re pleased to be able to offer those staying at Erigmore and Thurston Manor Leisure Parks this exciting new broadband connectivity and we’ve received great feedback on it from holidaymakers already. People have been streaming, gaming, and working remotely, with no hitches to their connectivity. We’re looking forward to introducing it to our other parks in the future, with installation currently underway at our Pease Bay Leisure Park.”

Outdoor small cell technology brings broadband data speeds to each lodge in the park via a network of small cells and a mini antenna on each lodge. A SIM-based router inside then distributes the signal via Wi-Fi. The network uses Vodafone’s 2600MHz spectrum in areas where the operator does not yet use it for public services.

Greg Morton, Managing Director at Online Systems, says: “With staycations in Scotland more popular than ever, I’m pleased that we were able to work with Freshwave on this innovative approach which will give those staying at the parks great connectivity. Using small cells rather than outdoor Wi-Fi meant installing less infrastructure, so it’s less disruptive to the resort while also overcoming issues challenging environments can pose for Wi-Fi. And with very little underground cabling needed with a network like this, you don’t run the same risks of encountering unmapped utilities during installation. Not only do the park’s guests and owners enjoy improved connectivity, but it also benefits the corporate services on site, such as maintenance and housekeeping.”

Simon Frumkin, Freshwave’s CEO, says: “Staying connected is more important than ever before and people holidaying outside city centres need to keep in touch too, especially when there’s probably never been more of us taking a staycation! We’re proud to pioneer the use of shared mobile spectrum to deploy private networks, another new way of helping our customers connect their customers.”

Andrea Donà, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone, comments: “We’re committed to rolling out high-speed mobile to rural communities, and sharing spectrum with Freshwave complements our efforts. We’ll continue to endorse novel approaches that help bridge the digital divide and connect more people and businesses.”

There are around 800 lodges and caravans at Thurston Manor, 190 at Erigmore, and 360 at Pease Bay, which between them welcome thousands of owners and guests.

Lisa Baker is Group Editor for the Need to See IT Publishing Group. Lisa writes about HR, Technology, Health, the Environment and Business.
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