The MANY project undertook to investigate feasibility for improved mobile connectivity in areas of North Yorkshire, most locally at the North end of Coverdale which was confirmed as the first location the project would work in. The project is now complete and the final report received which can be downloaded here Mobile Access North Yorkshire – Final Report v2 at 60 pages is rather long and for convenience, the Executive Summary is shown below below.
The project proved that 5G can be delivered into and will support rural communities in the following ways;
- The use of 5G technology will enable people to remain in areas where previously they would have to leave due to lack of digital connectivity.
- Community engagement is key to success when deploying new technology.
- The use of 5G can also provide residents with an opportunity to work from home, which was not previously available.
- 5G technology will support local businesses enabling them to grow and diversify their offerings.
- 5G will support video GP/Hospital appointments saving patient and clinical time whilst also making environmental savings with reduced travel.
- It is possible to deploy 5G fixed access wireless broadband to properties within line of sight of the radio mast.
- No individual use case will make a 5G network sustainable, however by looking at multiple use cases and benefits to an area then it becomes viable.
- The learnings from the MANY project can be taken and used across several council services showing the benefits of the use of technology.
- The use of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors connected to a low powered Long Range Wide Area Network (LoraWan) can provide early warning of flooding and damage. They can also be used for monitoring air quality, footfall, traffic flow and congestion providing information to influence decisions made by councils.
The project also identified operational difficulties those being;
- Once the technology is deployed monitoring of the network has enabled further developments to be made and also realise that the licences Ofcom supplied are too low powered for rural settings.
- It is difficult to develop and deploy new technology during a pandemic when manufacturers and suppliers cease to operate.
- The Telet private telephone network installed is currently not stable enough to offer to residents in the area. Further work is required on this to enable it to be a commercially viable service.
All project partners have learned a lot from the MANY project and are keen to use these learnings collaboratively in future projects to support broadening of the UK telecoms ‘ecosystem’.