Testbeds & trials

5G RuralDorset

  • Started on 1 Mar 2020

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Government funding: £4,581,196

5G RuralDorset is a ground-breaking research and development project to understand how next generation connectivity can help people live better, safer and more prosperous lives in rural communities, even in environments as sensitive as Dorset’s UNESCO-designated world heritage coastline. Its aim is to show how 5G can make Dorset a better place to live, work and visit.

The £7 million research and development project will contribute to the understanding of how 5G can be used to address some specific challenges – public safety, economic growth, food production and environmental – as well as create new opportunities in Dorset and rural communities across the UK.

Connected Coast – Connectivity along the coast can often be poor which hampers emergency response. This research area will focus on improving public coastal safety by increasing access to digital communication services for first responder organisations. This will be done by deploying infrastructure sensitively along the world-famous Jurassic Coast to deliver 5G coverage for the coastal safety trials including Surf Condition Monitoring (SCM) buoys. It will also include the UK’s first integration of satellite backhaul within a 5G network.

Future of Food – The project will be trialling uses of 5G connectivity in agriculture and aquaculture to increase productivity and reduce environmental impact. One of the biggest obstacles facing UK farmers in adopting new technologies is poor connectivity around the farm. We will be looking to identify how 5G and its roll out might be able to provide a step-change in the industry.

Rural Business Accelerator - This research area will develop the social and economic case for rural 5G deployment by mobile network operators, considering additional use cases from leisure and tourism to education. The trials also intend to show that deploying mmWave Spectrum in rural areas and providing high speed (Gigabit) and high capacity connections can be achieved at a commercially viable cost.

Innovation Accelerator - Advanced 5G mobile connectivity will be provided at the heart of Dorset Innovation Park, a Local Enterprise Zone and advanced-engineering centre which already supports large and small companies that develop innovative connected products and services.

An outdoor testbed network is being built that will be made available to defence and security teams wishing to understand the threats and opportunities for UK plc in exploiting 5G technologies.


Project Summary

5G RuralDorset is a ground-breaking £7m research and development project aimed at understanding how next generation connectivity can help people lead safer and more prosperous lives in rural communities.

It is a consortium led by Dorset Council and includes local, national and international partners.

Part-funded (£4.5m) by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and is part of its 5G Rural Testbed & Trials programme.

Why are we doing this?

Contribute to the understanding of how 5G can be used to address some specific challenges  –  public safety, economic growth, food production and environmental.

Develop use cases that can be used as a blueprint for rural 5G.

Support the UK5G market to speed up its ability to serve challenging environments like rural Dorset.

Create new opportunities in Dorset and rural communities across the UK.

How will we deliver this?

Four research areas will develop innovative technical approaches to bring connectivity to challenging environments.

Use existing infrastructure – like masts, fibre and buildings – wherever possible.

Build fewer new masts, reducing the environmental impact and investment needed, that can host multiple providers' equipment.

Create an understanding of new business models which can make providing life-enhancing (and lifesaving) connectivity to rural communities commercially viable.

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People involved in this project

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  • Colin Wood
    Programme Manager, 5G RuralDorset, Dorset Council
    Dorset Council
  • James Pryce
    Communications Officer
    Dorset Council

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