5G RuralFirst is the UK’s most ambitious testbed for connectivity in rural areas, demonstrating 5G’s gamechanging potential and identifying practical use cases that will benefit businesses and communities right across the United Kingdom. Through its three testbeds in the Orkney Islands, Somerset, and Shropshire, 5G RuralFirst is identifying and exploring new business models and use cases for connectivity deployment in rural areas and showcasing the potential of 5G in rural environments.
A recent whitepaper focuses specifically on the spectrum problem to be solved for high capacity rural 5G networks at 3.6 GHz and represents the views of the individual authors on the spectrum lessons that have emerged from the 5G RuralFirst project.
The importance of the 5G pioneer band 3.4-3.8 GHz to the rural community is examined in some detail. The case is made as to why a traditional approach to the release of 5G spectrum will leave rural Britain out in the cold in terms of the transformative benefits of 5G. Some alternative options are looked at and the conclusion is reached that the ‘market expansion model’ set out in the Government’s Future Telecommunications Infrastructure Report is the best option. Some use cases are presented that show opportunistic dynamic spectrum access offers more than enough bandwidth to meet the rural use cases but a small amount of anchor spectrum, to be lightly licenses on a first come first served basis, is essential to create viable investment conditions for the market expansion model.
The paper shows why an amount as little as 20 MHz is sufficient when coupled with opportunistic dynamic spectrum access rights. Such an amount is 5% of the 5G pioneer band at 3.6 GHz and would be a sound national investment likely to offer a good return from a more productive rural economy.
About 5G RuralFirst
The consortium comprises world-leading expertise from 29 partners from across the technology, broadcasting, academic, agricultural and public sectors, including Cisco, the University of Strathclyde, the BBC, the Agri-EPI Centre, Orkney Islands Council and Scottish Futures Trust. For more information, please visit www.5gruralfirst.org