At last, progress. We've heard whispers of "rural broadband expansion" thrown from halls of politicians for months on end, but it looks like a small company across the pond is cutting through the red tape and getting down to business. Deltenna's WiBE -- described as a device to deliver fast broadband to rural areas that are far from the phone exchange -- is available starting today in the UK and Ireland. It's purpose? It connects to nearby 3G networks and creates a mobile hotspot, not unlike a MiFi. The difference is that it delivers a data throughput around 30 times greater than a 3G USB modem, and the connection range is "typically between three and five-times that of the 3G dongle." The theoretical maximum is 7.2Mbps, with extensive testing demonstrating a typical download rate of 2.8Mbps in rural regions. Cetag Systems in Ireland and Buzz Networks in the UK will be first to offer it, with pricing set at £425 (less with bundles) in England and €299 through Cetag. Wildfowl sold separately, though.
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WiBE rural broadband device, quite literally in the wild

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2Mbps rural broadband device becomes available

iPlayer in the Lake District, Spotify in Snowdonia, email in the Cairngorms

1st November: Deltenna's WiBE, a device to deliver fast broadband to rural areas that are far from the phone exchange, will today become available to consumers and businesses in the UK and Ireland through its reseller network.

The gadget connects to the 3G mobile network and creates a web hotspot - even when a mobile phone, dongle or MiFi device wouldn't register a 3G signal.

Recent independent tests for a UK broadcaster showed that in areas of weak signal the device delivers a data throughput 30-times greater than a 3G USB modem dongle. And the connection range is typically between three and five-times that of the 3G dongle.

The WiBE's maximum throughput is 7.2Mbps and extensive tests in the UK demonstrate a typical download speed of 2.8Mbps in rural regions. These are achieved through Deltenna's patented directional antennas and alignment algorithms.

Users connect laptops, smartphones or VoIP phones to the device via WiFi.

The device automatically tests each mobile cell in range to determine the fastest available download speed and configures its aerials to achieve the best possible connection and block any interference.

The first companies to offer the WiBE are Cetag Systems in Ireland and Buzz Networks in the UK. Buzz will resell the WiBE with its VoIP service under the name Hubb@.

The WiBE is also undergoing trials with major network operators and was recently selected by the UK Trade and Investment to represent the best of British innovation at Mobile World Congress 2011.

Notes to editors
UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is a UK government funded organisation that works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice.