A project that aims to revolutionise agriculture and tourism industries, as well as improve connectivity for those living in rural communities, has announced a funding extension.
The 5G Rural Integrated Testbed (5GRIT), a consortium of innovative businesses and leading universities, was awarded a grant of £2.1 million by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport last year as part of the government’s Digital Strategy. The project, which also involves academics and researchers from Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications, has received an additional six-months of funding from Government.
Dr Matthew Broadbent, Lecturer in Computer Networks and Networked Systems, and who is involved in the 5GRIT project, said: “This extension will allow us to continue our work towards measuring the transformative real-world benefits that 5G will have on rural communities.”
Daniel Heery, 5GRIT Project Manager, said 5GRIT’s work will pave the way for a rollout of 5G technology in rural areas across the North of England.
“This is fantastic news and we are thrilled that the government has agreed this extension. We have been successfully trialling 5G technology across a range of rural applications over the last 12 months and this gives us more time to expand the trials and show the benefits of 5G to rural areas.
“As a consortium we have been focusing on smart agriculture and tourism options. We are in the process of developing 5G-ready Augmented Reality (AR) apps for tourists as well as investigating how high-bandwidth wireless connectivity can increase food production in farming, again by the use of AR and an unmanned aerial system. This is exciting technology which could really revolutionise these industries.”
Meanwhile, Digital Minister Margot James said:“We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G, providing people with fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity on the go and supporting our thriving digital economy.
“As part of our modern industrial strategy our 5G testbeds across the country will help to make this possible. I’m pleased that 5GRIT will continue its important work to ensure our rural communities can harness the power of 5G, bringing benefits across agriculture, tourism and wider society.”
During the testing period, 5GRIT has been using TV White Space technology looking at the potential for shared spectrum radio to deliver 5G. Ultimately, they aim to make high quality connectivity available across Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Inverness-shire, Perthshire and Monmouthshire.
Source: Lancaster University