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 >>>

Rural 5G could depend upon spectrum being set aside for it

5G RuralFirst has concluded that there needs to be a new spectrum model involving...

Ranplan’s new tool is built to efficiently support 5G New Radio

Ranplan Wireless has announced Ranplan Professional 5.2.

Two new 5G facilities launched near Aylesbury

The Westcott 5G Step-Out Centre and Westcott Business Incubation Centre have both...

Three and O2 pave the way to 5G with fibre rollout in London’s sewers

Three and O2 have partnered with SSE Enterprise Telecoms to connect cell sites and...

Vodafone made a holographic 5G call and accelerated its launch plans

Vodafone has made the UK’s first holographic call over 5G. Plus, it will launch...