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First In-Field 700MHz UK Standalone Private 5G Network Goes Live

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021 (11:47 am) - Score 3,672
5G_RuralDorset_Standalone_700MHz_Map

The 5G RuralDorset (5GRD) project, which is testing a mix of 5G based mobile technologies alongside existing fibre optic infrastructure, has announced the successful installation and testing of the “world’s first” in-field 700MHz based Standalone (SA) private 5G network to serve rural parts of the Jurassic Coast. But not for consumers.

The 700MHz band has only recently been released by Ofcom for use alongside 5G mobile networks, and the lower frequency is ideal for achieving longer range coverage with greater stability. But such networks will only deliver limited broadband speeds due to the inherent restriction on how much spectrum frequency can be made available for data transmission.

NOTE: This deployment reflects the Connected Coast use cases of the Dorset Council-led 5GRD project, which is also being supported by Excelerate Technology, Satellite Applications Catapult and Neutral Networks.

However, the new network being tested isn’t designed for consumer connectivity, instead it’s a field test of how a local 5G based wireless network could be used to cover a long stretch of rural coastline at Ringstead, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door in Dorset (England) – without needing to install masts at sensitive (protected) locations. It will connect devices, such as digital signage and related surf condition monitoring buoys etc.

The network complements a similar 3.5GHz based 5G network, which was also installed as part of the project at Lulworth Cove. The system comprises a 5G standalone core at the Catapult’s 5G Step-Out Centre in Westcott, Buckinghamshire, fibre backhaul via the Dorset Innovation Park to the core, and radio systems deployed and operational at the various locations (see map).

On top of all that, a satellite broadband connection is also being used for additional backhaul for added resilience to the network.

Bethan Evans, Operations director at Excelerate, said:

“The testing of the network is a critical point, and this has gone extremely smoothly. This is testament to the collaboration and hard work of all the teams involved since the project began. This testing proved to be a major milestone in how 5G can, and will continue to, play an integral role in improving public safety.

We are used to leading on large scale and often bespoke, complex projects and really enjoy working with the other partners to deliver this ground-breaking project together. I’m excited about deploying the use cases in the next few weeks and have no doubt they will be as successful as the recently announced use case for Lulworth First Responders, which is paving the way for first responders to connect to the 5G network at incidents.”

The main focus of all this is to answer the question of how 5G connectivity could be used to improve public safety and help prevent incidents, as such the network is also being used to connect the local RNLI and Coastguard.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. 5G_Infinity says:

    Note this spectrum use is on an interfering basis, so first responders need to be wary of resilience

  2. Buggerlugz says:

    Well, that’ll come in real handy for Dorset trawler-men!

    1. James Body says:

      Not unless they are issued with a 5G RuralDorset SIM. This is a PRIVATE Network, not a public network.

  3. Mr James Body says:

    Is this service being provided by a SINGLE gNodeB situated on Portland?

    I would be very interested to find out exactly what 700 MHz spectrum is bing us for this project and how it is being licenced. What sort of performance/throughput can be achieved and hate do user devices are being usd?

    Also – as this network is a PRIVATE stand alone configuration, what is the commercial model and who pays?

  4. JAMES BODY says:

    Interesting to note that Nokia and TPG Telecom launched the ‘world’s first live 5G standalone 700MHz service in Australia’ on 5th July 2021

    https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2021/07/05/nokia-and-tpg-telecom-launch-worlds-first-live-5g-standalone-700mhz-service-in-australia/

    I suppose that the difference between the two networks is that the TPG Telecom offering is a PUBLIC network, whilst 5G RuralDorset is running a PRIVATE network, viz ‘Not for consumers’.

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