5G industry news

Broadcasting Over 5G - Delivering Live Radio to Orkney

  • 2 minute read
  • Published by Lucy Woods on 10 Apr 2019
  • Last modified 18 Apr 2019
BBC R&D are testing the use of 4G/5G broadcast technology to deliver live radio services to members of the public as part of 5G RuralFirst - one of 6 projects funded under the UK Government’s 5G Phase 1 testbeds and trials programme.

As well as the broadcast trial, the wider consortium encompasses a number of use cases from farming to fishing and even connected cows. What binds them together is a desire to demonstrate potential new approaches to the deployment of connectivity in rural areas, which can often suffer from low and unstable bandwidth on both fixed and mobile. Given that the Internet is becoming increasingly important to deliver the BBC’s programmes and services, we want to make sure that everyone in the UK can benefit wherever they live.

We worked with the Orkney Islands Council to identify the island of Stronsay, Orkney as a location for the trial. It was chosen because it currently suffers from limited fixed broadband, little or no mobile coverage as well as poor digital radio coverage. It therefore seemed an ideal location to try out this new technology. From the perspective of someone based in London it certainly feels somewhat remote, being two flights and a ferry ride from BBC R&D here in West London.

In the 5G Broadcast trial, we’re transmitting thirteen radio stations, including BBC Radio Orkney, broadcast live over the 4G/5G system. In addition, we’re offering mobile Internet access to participants. This allows us to demonstrate the benefits of broadcast for live services alongside normally Internet access for catch-up services.

Read in full on the BBC R&D blog here.

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