Orkney is to be a test bed for ‘5G New Thinking’ a project which has £5million of funding from the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
In its first stage the project will create models, strategies and use case demonstrators on the Orkney Islands network, and engage forward with community and council partners in Borderlands, Scotland, Northern Ireland and areas of rural England to help develop and ultimately roll-out 5G connectivity.
Dez O’ Connor, Cisco and Chief Technologist of 5G New Thinking Project, said:
“The project will look at how it can help to address some of the most pressing technology challenges to help the UK in improving connectivity across rural, and indeed so called ultra-rural areas.”
Orkney is one of 9 areas in the UK sharing in funding of £65million to trial 5G.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council is delighted that Orkney is to be a test bed for 5G.
“Orkney currently is home to some of the most disconnected communities in the UK.
“This ground-breaking project will look at ways to address that – and to level the playing field – so that we aren’t left behind in a world that increasingly depends on the most modern mobile and wireless networks.
“It will involve the development of technologies that could be used in future to provide robust, reliable and financially-viable connectivity networks for remote and rural communities in Orkney and elsewhere in the UK.
“It is a project with enormous potential – and I greatly welcome the UK Government’s support. In addition, we are exploring with the Government other ways to improve connectivity across our community.”
The New Thinking Project has several partners:
- University of Strathclyde
- Faroese Telecom
- US company Federated Wireless
- Orkney Islands Council
Archived story: Letters: 5G Concerns Continue on Stronsay
Areas in Scotland where there is no mobile coverage – ‘Not Spots’ – are to be supported by £25million – £15million from the Scottish Government and £10million from the European Regional Development Fund . 24 masts are to be erected over the next 2 years in a project delivered by WHP Telecoms, managed by the Scottish Futures Trust.
Commenting on The Scottish 4G Infill (S4GI) Programme, Paul Wheelhouse, Connectivity Minister in the Scottish Government said:
“While telecommunications is a responsibility of UK ministers, improving mobile coverage is vital to achieving the Scottish Government’s ambition to make sure everyone in Scotland has access to high-speed, reliable coverage.”
New Luce in Wigtownshire, is the first ‘Not Spot’ in Scotland to benefit from the programme. It has had no mobile coverage from any operator.
WHP Telecoms Strategic Development director Martyn Cheyne said:
“This is a great achievement for all involved and another important moment in WHP Telecoms’ growth.
“Providing connectivity to mobile ‘not spots’ is transformational but challenging, it takes a truly collaborative approach to succeed.
“Thank you to the fantastic S4GI teams at WHP, Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, to Vodafone, Cornerstone, Openreach, Scottish Power, the landowner and tenant farmer, and to the New Luce Community Trust who have all supported WHP in making this possible.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame