CW Talk: Solving rural connectivity: regulation or innovation?

    Venue: Digital Catapult, 101 Euston Road, London, NW1 2RA
    Cost: This is a free event.

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Starts 12 Jun 16:00

Ends 12 Jun 21:00

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CW Talks are a series of focused, interactive events that stimulate debate on a hot topic.

The second of our CW Talks will examine whether technology can now bridge the “digital divide” given the tough economic realities of providing coverage to rural areas and asks the question “Do rural communities need something more radical? What new players may have a solution?”

Currently broadband mobile coverage in many rural areas in the UK is still woefully inadequate.  Most villages nowadays have their share of home workers and commuting professionals, all of whom need and should have excellent broadband to their homes.  This is finally being addressed through rollout of “super fast” DSL and fibre to the home, though many rural areas remain to be upgraded.  But broadband mobile coverage in the countryside lags far behind.  It’s a real headache for many that so far technology has failed to cure. Surely in this day and age it should be possible for everyone to have the same service or will rural areas just have to continue to suffer?  How would that affect the feasibility of autonomous vehicles on rural roads?  How could farmers reap the productivity benefits of 5G when there’s no coverage?

Is regulation the answer?  Should Ofcom impose coverage obligations on the MNOs to fix rural issues? Or should Government give local communities the tools to do it themselves, or provide subsidies to existing or new carriers?

Will 5G technology solve the problem?  Or will it, like its predecessors, fail to deliver to rural areas?

For full details about this event, including the agenda and speakers, visit the CW website.