LAST year, the village of Cranborne was selected as one of 12 communities UK-wide that would participate in a Vodafone pilot project to bring mobile telephone signal to rural “not-spot” areas.

Having successfully fulfilled the technical criteria for the trial, which included having no 2G or 3G signal and a sufficiently fast fixed-line broadband connection to support Vodafone’s new Open Femtocell technology, Vodafone engineers visited local businesses and community buildings in the centre of Cranborne to position five Metro Cells, each the size of a home broadband router, to give the best signal cover to the village.

The only cost to the trial community is the cost of power to each box.

In February the system was successfully installed and, earlier this month, the village celebrated the official launch of the technology.

North Dorset MP Robert Walter attended the launch. He said: “I am thrilled the new technology has been successfully installed and that, for the first time, businesses, residents and visitors can make and receive mobile telephone calls from the heart of the village. It is my sincere wish that the experience of these trials helps to deliver more solutions to rural areas affected by signal blackouts.

“The only downside with this particular technology is that it requires a solid broadband connection to work – something that remains a challenge for parts of north and east Dorset.

“Thankfully, with the Superfast Dorset project well under way and innovative community broadband projects coming to the fore, rural communities do now have hope for the future.”