£4.3 million funding to roll out 5G in rural communities


£4.3 million funding to roll out 5G in rural communities

The government has announced the winners of a £25 million competition to pave the way for the future rollout of 5G technology in the UK.

Announced on the first anniversary of the Digital Strategy, test bed companies across the UK will lead efforts to make the country a world leader in 5G technology. Six small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and local authorities have been selected to represent the best of innovation, resources and expertise in the UK.

The Digital Strategy was launched in March 2017 to drive the UK’s connectivity, telecommunications and digital sectors, investing in key industries, infrastructure and skills.

The six organisations will test 5G across a range of applications, including smart farming, using the internet of things to improve healthcare, increasing productivity in manufacturing and researching the future benefits of self-driving cars.

Milkalyser is working with one of the six project leads – 5G RuralFirst, led by Cisco and lead partner University of Strathclyde – who have received £4.3 million funding. The partnership’s focus is to deliver testbeds and trials to exploit 5G benefits for rural communities, focussing on industries such as agriculture, broadcasting and utilities.

The project aims to bring connectivity to rural communities, enabling smart farming in partnership with Agri-Epi Centre; researching innovative methods of delivering broadcast radio over 5G; as well as the delivery of 5G connectivity for IoT in utility and other industries in rural areas.

Toby Mottram, Founder and Chief Engineer for Milkalyser, said:With agricultural technology companies such as Milkalyser being involved in the 5G roll out, we can help to ensure that the connectivity meets the needs of those in rural communities and the agricultural industry.

“If 5G is rolled out effectively in rural areas it will facilitate the development of new farming technologies and will allow farmers to engage with these technologies when they may not have been able to previously due to connectivity issues.

“We’re pleased to see that the agricultural industry has been considered for this project from the outset, as in the past ensuring connectivity in these areas has been a lesser priority. This highlights the fact that agritech is becoming recognised as an integral part of the UK economy.”

Based primarily on the Orkney Islands, and in the farmlands of Shropshire and Somerset, the ‘5G RuralFirst: Rural Coverage and Dynamic Spectrum Access Testbed and Trial’, led by Cisco, will integrate spectrum sharing strategies for 5G

Scot Gardner, Chief Executive of Cisco UK & Ireland said: “5G has huge interest, but now we have to make it real – not just for cities but for everyone, including into rural communities. It is fantastic to see the government investing in research and development that helps the UK to lead in such a crucial space.

“Digital economies rely on connectivity so the UK can’t sit and wait. We need to be trialling now, understanding what 5G can do right across the UK. 5G RuralFirst looks to do just that. With live trials in Orkney, Shropshire and Somerset it will not only benefit those communities, but help the entire UK better understand what 5G makes possible, as well as the challenges there are in delivering world-class connectivity to all corners of the nation.”

For information on each of the projects, read the government press release here.

To learn more about how Milkalyser technology could support your farm, get in touch with our team.

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