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Bringing 5G connectivity to rural Britain

Mobile phone mast in field

Experts working towards improving rural connectivity through fifth generation (5G) mobile communications technology will showcase their progress to date at an event in Glasgow on 28 March.

The ‘Beyond the City’ event is being held by the 5G RuralFirst project, a consortium of 29 partners from across business, government, and academia, led by Cisco and principal partner University of Strathclyde that aims to show the value of connectivity in rural areas and the benefits for businesses and residents of 5G ‘new thinking’.

Use cases

The project’s first goal is to create rural test-beds and end-to-end use case trials for next generation wireless and mobile connectivity across three main sites in the Orkney Islands, Shropshire, and Somerset.

One of the objectives across many use cases of the project is to demonstrate and deploy the technology that will underpin the Internet of Things (IoT) – the connectivity of a host of individual objects to the internet whether industrial, residential or agricultrural.

The project has seen a diverse range of use cases, from the BBC demonstrating a special new broadcast mode of 5G standards for radio on Orkney, to flying drones with high speed 5G connectivity to smart tractors, to virtual reality for tourism.

Professor Robert Stewart of the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The Beyond the City event gives us the opportunity to showcase all the great work done by 5G RuralFirst in the past year and we’re delighted that this is taking place in Glasgow City Innovation District, a hub of 5G communications research.

We’ve spent the last year exploring the value and viability of connecting some of the most remote and digitally challenged areas in the UK.

“The project has illuminated some of the biggest challenges facing the UK’s digital divide and demonstrated the case for supporting businesses and communities in hard-to-reach areas by deploying the latest technology first, rather than at the tail end of roll-outs.”

The day will include a mix of talks, panels, and live demonstrations from delegates including Cisco, the University of Strathclyde, the BBC, Cloudnet, Agri-Epi Centre, Harper Adams University and more.

Anyone interested attended the Beyond the City event is invited to register in advance.