EE and BT made a big announcement this morning, with a new 'hybrid' router than links up regular fibre-topic broadband with EE's 4G network. What that means is that this router can use both regular and mobile broadband options, to ensure that you're always getting the best and most stable connection.
The point is to ensure a reliable connection and the fastest possible speeds, so if you have any issues with the broadband side of things you're able to automatically fall back on the 4G connection to minimise your browsing woes. While it's easy to sound sceptical of this given EE's fondness for strict data limits, it's been confirmed that the mobile connection is unlimited, so you shouldn't find yourself with a ridiculous bill at the end of the month if your broadband dies suddenly and you end up binge-watching the latest 4K Netflix series on a mobile connection.
“The UK’s first truly hybrid home broadband combines BT’s superfast broadband network with EE’s 4G network to give customers consistent and reliably fast broadband speeds, even in areas with traditionally slow broadband speeds or at peak times.
The hybrid technology ensures customers are always connected, as one technology will take over the other in the unlikely event of a fault.”
EE and BT are probably in the best position to do this, seeing as how the company's fibre-optic networks reach 95 per cent of the UK's population, while EE's 4G network currently covers 90 per cent of the UK land mass - with the goal of increasing that figure to 95 per cent by 2020. With that much coverage they can make sure pretty much anyone will have access to stable broadband, though it will be a pain for people who live in more remote areas where BT is the only option available.
The hybrid router is only a prototype for now, but EE claims it will be ready for release sometime around the start of next year. There aren't any prices available right now, but Howard Jones, EE’s head of network communications, has told Trusted Reviews that he expects it to be available to existing broadband customers as a bolt on costing an extra £10 a month. Which isn't so bad, provided you're happy with the price you currently pay. EE also confirmed that it has plans to produce different boxes, including a router that combines fibre and mobile connections. Alternatively the two may be available separately, so people can play the mobile box somewhere in the house that actually gets good signal.
In the short term, BT has confirmed that it will be launching a new system called BT+Plus next week, which will see users receive automatically receive unlimited mobile data on their phones if their broadband fails. What's more, if BT can't fix the connection within a day, customers will get a free mobile Wi-Fi device to connect them to EE's network. BT has also confirmed it will be following in EE's footsteps and will be bringing its call centres back to the UK. [Trusted Reviews | TechRadar]