The Wave 1 Rural Project will create a rural ‘field lab’ to allow demonstration, test, and evaluation of new 5G-technologies, shared spectrum access, operational models, and regulatory approaches for fixed and mobile connectivity in remote rural areas.
The 5G equipment and concepts being tested will ultimately help to inform best practices in providing sustainable, operational and viable connectivity solutions for remote rural areas. Secondly, the knowledge and expertise gained will help to position Scotland as a key innovator in the deployment of new technologies for rural fixed wireless and mobile communications. The project will aim to collaborate with businesses and other organisations to improve connectivity across the whole of Scotland and, indeed, in other parts of the world.
Scotland faces unique challenges in providing ubiquitous connectivity, particularly in rural areas where return on investment is not clearly defined and infrastructure deployment decisions have traditionally proven difficult to justify. However, 5G presents an opportunity to do things differently and to adopt new ideas and new ways of deployment and operation, making it more than simply an extension of 4G, 3G and 2G.
By looking at new operational models, such as neutral hosting and private 5G networks, there is an opportunity to make rural connectivity more commercially viable and sustainable. Our 5G Scotland Rural Testbed project will help to demonstrate the technology and opportunity of new ways of doing things, and will support and inform the development of the new 5G ecosystem so that it is able to address the needs and aspirations of communities and businesses in rural locations.
In terms of location for the specific project, the project’s main hub will be at Ross Priory (Loch Lomond side), with coverage extending to the surrounding areas on the east side of Loch Lomond, where connectivity is extremely challenging due to the terrain and population distribution.
The project will also link directly with a testbed network on the Orkney Islands, where the provision of connectivity is extremely challenging due to the size of the overall coverage area and the fact that many of the locations are on remote islands.
The project will therefore allow equipment and candidate connectivity solutions to be tested and evaluated in a less remote, more accessible field test environment, with results and learnings feeding into the more remote scenarios being evaluated in Orkney. 5G cloud and core facilities will be hosted at the University of Strathclyde.
You can find out more about the Scotland 5G Centre Wave 1 Rural project on its website, scotland5gcentre.org/5g-activity/projects/projects-5g-scotland-rural-testbed