A bid led by Dorset Council has been awarded £4.335 million to help boost mobile connectivity in rural communities
The total cost of the 5G RuralDorset Initiative is £6.675 million. Dorset Council will contribute £150,000 of the funding and the rest will come from industry and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The consortium includes Dorset Council, Vodafone, Wessex Internet, Excelerate Technology Ltd, Bournemouth University, Kimcell, Hugslock, Telint, Neutral Networks, University of Strathclyde, New Generation Internet Services and Satellite Applications Catapult.
David Savage, Excelerate’s Group Chairman and CEO commented:
“I am delighted that we have been chosen to lead the Coastal Connectivity workstream in this bid. It is a testament to my team and capability.
“Excelerate pioneered the provision of resilient, zero-gap connectivity in the Emergency Responder market and is now a global market leader. 5G networks using a blend of cellular, satellite and wireless is going to transform how society and every device it uses communicates over the next ten years with the large proportion of global connectivity “not spots” becoming a thing of the past.
“I am proud that as a UK founded and based business Excelerate is at the forefront of the next communications revolution which will be as profound as the introduction of the mobile phone and perhaps even the Internet itself.”
Four trials will look at innovative public, social and business uses of improved mobile coverage which will test whether connectivity can be delivered cheaper and quicker using existing masts, building and fibre.
The four trials include Agri-tech; Lulworth Estate; Connected coast and 5G Innovation Accelerator.
Agri-tech – new wireless technology on existing masts and fibre owned and operated by internet service provider Wessex Internet to allow innovative agricultural uses.
Lulworth Estate – new mobile services to unlock social and commercial benefits.
Connected coast – improved safety along a section of the coast by upgrading access to digital communications for first responders and supporting organisations.
5G Innovation Accelerator – at Dorset Innovation Park, Winfrith. New connectivity will support businesses operating in the county and across the supply chain to test and develop products in a collaborative and secure way.
Deputy Leader of Dorset Council Peter Wharf said:
“We are delighted to receive this funding. Improved connectivity is critical to our smart rural place aspirations and making Dorset a great place to live, work and visit.
“Introduced sensitively in our world-famous UNESCO-recognised coastline and the wider environment, 5G can help keep vulnerable people safe and well, deliver economic growth, and provide enhanced educational and social opportunities.
“This exciting project won’t banish all the county’s mobile phone not-spots but is an opportunity for Dorset to become a leader in Europe in understanding how next generation connectivity can positively transform the lives and economies of rural communities. We look forward to sharing our learning experiences with other parts of the UK.”
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