Key to Mobile Access North Yorkshire – a £6.4million Department, for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 5G Testbed and Trials initiative – is enabling the latest technology to help level up the growing digital divide.
The MANY project has been working to understand the current needs and future aspirations of residents in the North End of Coverdale to ensure the technology deployed is right for residents now and into the future.
Through the engagement phase, several day-to-day challenges have been highlighted. For example, the need for connectivity to use SMART metres; a signal to obtain the dual-authentication codes for online banking and the move to digital by default are just a few. Assumptions have been made by many people that everyone – who wants it – has connectivity; for those who deal with poor connections it can mean time is wasted professionally and personally.
However, a lack of connectivity has bigger issues – young people moving away from the ‘dale. Several residents have mentioned it. Yet, one thing that has become clear to the project is there is an aspiration to attract and retain people. However, to do this vital infrastructure is needed – one of which is connectivity.
5G – or fifth generation – offers a solution. Already available in many places in the UK and launched internationally in 2019, 5G can offer connectivity in and outside the home enhancing current lives and livelihoods. Moreover, it will give residents access to new and innovative services, which support independence, health, and business ensuring rural communities are at the forefront of future developments rather than coping with older technology.
Via lead partner – Quickline Communications, the UKs largest independent Internet Service Provider – MANY can deliver a wireless connection for rural areas via its upgraded fibre network whilst installing three masts – only one of which being in Coverdale itself.
Combining this with a variety of commonly used frequencies – which help move data more efficiently – whilst using upgrading computers by moving equipment from hardware to software gives areas such as Coverdale a solution to overcome the digital divide, allowing the area to thrive and compete on a level playing field with its urban neighbours.
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