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Vodafone has launched 3G mobile broadband services in its first rural 'not-spot': Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire.

People living and working in the idyllic market town will now be able to access voice and data services via dongles, tablets and smartphones.

Vodafone has added Minchinhampton to its network under its Rural Open Sure Signal programme, which was launched in July 2014.

Situated on a difficult-to-reach hilltop location within the Cotswolds, the town has long-suffered from unreliable mobile coverage and slow network speeds.

The installation of Vodafone’s Sure Signal technology means local homes and businesses should have fewer difficulties getting online and holding a connection.

Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone UK Chief Executive, said mobile connectivity is "an essential service" for communities and businesses to thrive in today’s digital world.

"I am delighted to announce Minchinhampton as the first of the 100 communities we will light up," he stated.

"As part of the Rural Open Sure Signal programme, we are committed to investing in our network, using innovative technologies such as Sure Signal to provide access even in remote locations where it is otherwise almost impossible to reach."

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, said the 3G rollout scheme will provide "a huge benefit" to the local community.

He explained that it will help businesses connect with their customers and allow people to stay in touch with their family and friends.

Another 29 communities are set to benefit from the first wave of upgrades under Vodafone's network extension scheme.

The Isle of Luing in Argyll, Pomeroy in County Tyrone, Bryneglwys in Denbighshire and the Itchen Valley in Hampshire are among the areas included in the first phase.

Vodafone is aiming to eliminate up to 100 rural 'not-spots' through the programme, by ensuring more people can take advantage of 3G connectivity.

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