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BBC trials live radio over 5G

Trial on Stronsay, Orkney, aims to boost BBC's reach in rural areas

The BBC is to undertake the first public trial of broadcasting live radio over 5G.

The trial on Stronsay, Orkney, aims to boost the BBC’s reach in rural areas and will run for six weeks, with potential to extend.

A 4G/5G network has been installed on Stronsay especially for the trial. The local wireless ISP, Cloudnet, is hoping to take over aspects of the technology at the end of the trial.

The wider 5G RuralFirst initiative is designed to use 5G to help reduce network congestion on the rest of the network, while alleviating the strain on users’ data allowances.

BBC director of distribution and business development Kieran Clifton said: “The internet has changed how people watch and listen to programmes, and we want to bring those benefits to all of our audiences. This can be challenging in rural areas, so we’re pioneering new ways of reaching people using the latest technology.

“This cutting-edge trial is a chance for us to learn all we can, so we can continue to provide world-class public service broadcasting to as many people in the UK as possible.”

Cisco Europe director of innovation Nick Chrissos added: “5G RuralFirst aims to identify practical use cases of how enhanced connectivity will benefit businesses and communities in rural areas across the country.

“It’s about building a business case for 5G roll outs beyond urban areas and demonstrating the value of investing in the digital infrastructure serving rural businesses and communities for the benefit of the entire country.”