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Features | 04 Sep 2020

Creating a 5G-powered future for rural Dorset

5G isn’t just for cities: Vodafone UK is aiming to support countryside communities with access to the latest technologies.

In February 2020, Vodafone UK joined the Government-backed 5G testbed in rural Dorset. As part of 5G Rural Dorset, to give the testbed its full name, Vodafone UK will be working to bring 5G mobile coverage to the rural and coastal communities near Lulworth Cove, not far from the famed and much-visited Durdle Door arch (pictured above).

Vodafone’s 5G signal will be a boon not just for tourist visitors and the businesses that serve them, but for locals as they go about their everyday lives.

Vodafone UK is also investigating the possibility of opening a 5G innovation centre in the area, as it did in Salford. Such a complex could provide start-ups and other businesses with access not just to 5G connections – from mobile private networks to fixed wireless access – but also to narrowband IoT (Internet of Things) and satellite links.

Just as the Salford innovation centre is now home to a thriving set of tech start-ups, building new products and services based on the latest connectivity technologies, Vodafone UK hopes a new centre will do the same in Dorset.

In 2018, Santa to came to visit Portland Bill Coastwatch in an unusual mode of transport

Because 5G isn’t exclusively an urban technology. While the majority of sites to receive coverage have been in cities and towns since Vodafone launched its 5G network in July 2019, the remote Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall was one of the first places – not only to receive 5G – but also to get a taste of the new benefits it can bring.

And now Dorset is set to benefit. Vodafone already demonstrated the potential of4G-connected delivery drones in Dorset in 2018 during the Christmas period.

Now 5G has the potential to nurture developments in agriculture, tourism and the delivery of public services – among many other fields – that could be even more exciting.

In agriculture, for example, 5G-connected sensors could allow farmers to monitor their crops more closley, leading to more efficient fertiliser and water use. Partially or fully autonomous drones could then tend the crops.

Vodafone UK’s participation in 5G Rural Dorset, alongside commercial and public sector partners, including Dorset Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, builds upon the company’s expertise and experience in bringing connectivity to far-flung areas from the Shared Rural Network to mini-masts and spectrum sharing.

All of the activities at 5G Rural Dorset, including Vodafone’s, are due to come online in 2021.

  • To keep up-to-date with the latest 5G Rural Dorset developments, follow Vodafone UK News on Twitter or subscribe to notifications by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser window.

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