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O2 UK Preps Europe’s Largest Fibre Connected Small Cell Network

Thursday, November 8th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 559
O2 wireless vehicles trial

Mobile operator O2 (Telefonica UK) has signed a new collaboration agreement with the Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), which will support the development of what is expected to be “Europe’s largest fibre connected small cell network” and trials of driverless vehicles using 5G tech in the West Midlands.

The scheme, which is due to be launched in 2020, will see O2 provide connectivity and related engineering support along a 50-mile (80km) route that runs through Birmingham and Coventry. All of this will be used to underpin the £25m Midlands Future Mobility project for testing and developing the next generation of driverless cars etc.

The UK government has previously said that it wants the country to be “at the forefront” of self-driving cars and in 2018, proposed that autonomous cars will be in use commercially by 2021. In keeping with that their 5G Urban Connected Communities Project (worth up to £75m) is also proposing to setup a “large-scale” test bed of next generation Gigabit speed capable 5G wireless technology in the West Midlands (here).

Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at O2, said:

“Following our successful deployment of the UK’s first centralised radio network (C-RAN) in Aberdeen, in partnership with WIG, we will be using this same cutting-edge technology across what we expect to be Europe’s largest fibre connected small cell network. Mobile powers our modern world and 5G has even more potential to move Britain forward which is why we’re excited to be working together with WIG to continue to build this technology into the fabric of our cities and communities.”

Scott Coates, CEO of WIG, said:

“We are delighted to be working with O2 to build this 5G ready neutral host infrastructure. The new infrastructure will enable services by O2 and will also be open to other mobile operators to join.”

We should point out that O2’s new network is only described as being “5G ready,” which without more detail could cover a multitude of sins. Mind you driverless cars don’t strictly need 5G technology to work and the latest 4G infrastructure would be more than capable of helping to facilitate such a service.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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