Freshwave lands first Scottish leisure park private network
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Lake Thurston view with treeline and leisure park Thurston Manor Leisure Park is the largest in Verdant Leisure's portfolio and is located near the East Lothian coastline (credit: Verdant)

Network service provider Freshwave has announced the successful launch of the first 4G private mobile network at a pair of leisure parks in Scotland.

The Verdant Leisure-owned Erigmore and Thurston Manor Leisure Parks will offer what Freshwave claimed will be “improved wireless connectivity on a 4G network” as a result of a shared spectrum deal with Vodafone.

Telecoms reseller Online Systems helped support Freshwave on the design and build of the 4G mobile private network using outdoor small cell technology.

Outdoor small cells bring broadband data speeds to each lodge in the parks located in Perthshire and the Lothians 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 using Vodafone’s 2600MHz spectrum in areas where the operator does not yet use it for public services.

Using small cells rather than outdoor Wi-Fi meant there was less infrastructure to install according to Online Systems managing director Greg Morton who added that with less underground cabling “you don’t run the same risks of encountering unmapped utilities during installation” so it benefits services on site, such as maintenance and housekeeping.

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There are around 800 lodges and caravans at Thurston Manor and a further 190 at Erigmore, all of which will be able to access the new private 4G network. Chief executive Bev Dixon said Verdant Leisure would be looking to introduce private networks across its 12 other parks “in the future”, with installation currently underway to cover 360 lodges and caravans at Pease Bay Leisure Park in Berwickshire.

Dixon added: ““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 holiday-makers already. People have been streaming, gaming, and working remotely, with no hitches to their connectivity.”

Vodafone agreed to share some of its spectrum with Freshwave in 2019 to help offer high-speed broadband in areas without 4G connectivity. The deal made Freshwave the first business in the UK to acquire a Local Access Licence through Ofcom’s ‘enabling wireless innovation through local licensing’ framework.

Simon Frumkin, Freshwave’s CEO, said: “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.”

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