A bid led by Dorset Council has been awarded £4.335m to help understand how rural communities could benefit from next-generation mobile connectivity.

Four trials in the county will look at innovative public, social and business uses of improved mobile coverage and test whether this connectivity can provide improved coverage and higher quality connectivity.

Dorset 5G

Improving Public Safety and Advancing Search and Rescue Operations.

Excelerate Technology is leading part of the consortium project which will deliver Major Advancements in Coastal Connectivity, enabling First Responders and supporting organisations access to digital communications applications.

The UK’s coastal regions generate significant economic wealth and support a range of leisure activities that boost health and well-being. But the coast is overwhelmingly rural and can be very dangerous. There are serious challenges communicating in such regions, with the first responder community and organisations including the RNLI, Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) having very limited access to digital communications services.

Working in partnership with the 5G RuralDorset consortium and RNLI/MCA, Excelerate will deploy an advanced wireless network along a section of the coast to improve safety on coastal and cliff paths and track patterns of usage. The Improved connectivity will improve access to applications and services, for example the ability to alert users to local hazards including tidal dangers, cliff instability, extreme weather and other hazards disseminated by the GLA.

Deputy Leader of Dorset Council Peter Wharf said: “Improving connectivity in Dorset is critical to achieving the economic growth we want, developing the digital skills we need for the future and to delivering excellent services for the people of Dorset.

“This exciting project won’t banish all the county’s mobile phone not-spots but is an opportunity for Dorset to become a leader in Europe in understanding how next-generation connectivity can positively transform the lives and economies of rural communities.”

Unlike 3G and 4G, the term 5G doesn’t refer to a single thing but to an ecosystem of technologies – wireless communications, hardware and software – that together offer high-quality network services.

David Savage, Excelerate’s Group Chairman and CEO commented:

“I am delighted that we have been chosen to lead the Coastal Connectivity workstream in this bid. It is a testament to my team and capability.

“Excelerate pioneered the provision of resilient, zero-gap connectivity in the Emergency Responder market and is now a global market leader. 5G networks using a blend of cellular, satellite and wireless is going to transform how society and every device it uses communicates over the next ten years with the large proportion of global connectivity “not spots” becoming a thing of the past.

“I am proud that as a UK founded and based business Excelerate is at the forefront of the next communications revolution which will be as profound as the introduction of the mobile phone and perhaps even the Internet itself.”

Read Dorset Council’s full announcement here. To stay up to date on the 5G Rural Dorset project follow @digitaldorset on Twitter, subscribe to the Digital Dorset e-newsletter or read the Digital Dorset blog.

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