Cisco is putting rural UK locations first with 5G trials

By James Rogerson 3 April 2018

5G

Many 5G testbeds are focused on urban locations, but Cisco has another focus, as it’s the lead on 5G RuralFirst, a government-funded testbed which will explore the potential of 5G in rural locations.

The project will aim to create a complete end-to-end 5G testbed system, with an overall goal of making sure 5G connectivity is affordable and accessible in rural, often out of the way locations.

Testbeds and trials for 5G RuralFirst will primarily be found in Shropshire, Somerset and the Orkney islands, and various specific 5G use cases will be looked at, including smart farming, such as with the use of autonomous vehicles and remote diagnostics.

Other use cases that will make up part of the 5G RuralFirst trials include broadcast radio over 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) use in environment management and utilities, and dynamic shared spectrum development and trials, which could help lower the cost of rural 5G communications deployment.

Making a case

There’s a strong case for carrying out these rural 5G trials, as Ofcom reports that only 63% of the UK has mobile data coverage from all of the four main networks, with it mostly being rural locations which go without, so they’re in serious need of an upgrade.

Not only that, but it could make financial sense to invest in rural 5G services too, as according to Cisco, rural communities represent tens of billions of pounds’ worth of opportunity for the UK economy. That’s perhaps unsurprising when you consider that 72% of the UK’s area is used for agricultural production.

As such, part of Cisco’s goal with 5G RuralFirst is to build the business case for investment in rural 5G.

The project, which has been given a £4.1 million grant, is just one of many trials and testbeds across the UK. In fact, the government has even recently announced plans to create the UK’s first ‘5G city' in a citywide testbed of 5G technologies, though which specific city will benefit is so far undecided.

About James Rogerson

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

View more posts by James Rogerson >>>

Laird Intros Indoor MIMO Antenna for 5G

Latest indoor, omnidirectional MIMO antenna operates in 5G spectrum to provide optimal...

BBC just made the UK’s first live broadcast over a public 5G network

The BBC has broadcast a news segment over EE’s brand new 5G network, making for...

The UK’s first 5G-enabled immersive lab has now opened

The UK’s first 5G-enabled immersive technology lab has just been unveiled at MediaCityUK.

LiveU plans to use 5G to upgrade live news and sport coverage

LiveU has partnered with AT&T to test 5G versions of the former’s portable video...

Vodafone is launching 5G on July 3rd in seven cities

Vodafone has announced its 5G launch date and 5G roaming.