Much has been written about the importance of digital connectivity in the world of work, but it’s just as important for holidaymakers. With 67% of travellers saying quality Wi-Fi is a deciding factor when choosing where to holiday, connectivity is not just a nice-to-have for operators in this sector.
While many caravan and holiday parks offer Wi-Fi access to their guests, due to the limitations of the technology the quality of the connection can sometimes be poor and unreliable. This can potentially lead to frustration for guests as many people expect to be able to access the same services they do at home, such as social media and streaming. However, telecoms reseller Online Systems and UK network service provider Freshwave have teamed up and developed an exciting industry first.
In 2019 in a first for the UK, Vodafone agreed to share some of its spectrum with Freshwave to help offer high-speed mobile broadband in remote areas without fibre connectivity, as well as to promote efficient use of its spectrum. Using this spectrum and small cell technology, Freshwave and Online Systems have developed mobile private networks that bring 4G data speeds to park lodges via a small antenna on each lodge. An “off the shelf”, standard 4G router then distributes the signal internally via Wi-Fi. Operational services, such as sales, maintenance and housekeeping are also able to use the network.
Using a mobile private network brings a host of benefits to both the guests and the park:
- A more robust and stable connection: The ease of Wi-Fi access but without the capacity restraints. It’s too expensive to dig comms cable to every lodge so Wi-Fi is usually provided by outdoor access points, each serving multiple lodges. But a mobile private network provides broadband capacity using a 4G small cell network. Even before the pandemic connectivity was important, but with new, flexible ways of working expected in the future, its importance will only increase.
- Less infrastructure to install: 4G needs less infrastructure than Wi-Fi due to its far greater range, especially in the presence of obstructions such as trees. This is a huge benefit in a holiday park as digging runs the risk of coming across unexpected things such as gas, water, electricity and foul water. And less excavation means less disturbance for guests in the park, as well as minimising health and safety risks.
- Less infrastructure can also reduce cost: Mobile spectrum enables higher power and reliability, meaning better coverage with fewer radio points, resulting in lower costs.
- On-site control for the holiday park operator: It's their network giving them complete control of coverage, capacity, data and devices, as each must use a SIM registered to the network.
Alec MacDonald, Head of Special Projects at Online Systems, said: “Holiday park operators are excited to learn about this new connectivity option and the feedback we’ve had from parks who are already using our mobile private networks has been excellent. Their guests are happy to have reliable, secure connections that they can use multiple devices on. And the park operators find that it’s also valuable for their operational services. The speed of deployment of these networks is also a real bonus, as they are up and running quickly with minimal disruption.”
These award-winning mobile private networks are already being enjoyed in holiday parks across England and Scotland. To find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.