NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

More details revealed of 5G trials planned in Orkney

5G speed dial Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 5G promises much faster speeds which should open up a whole range of new applications

The consortium awarded a contract to run experimental 5G in Orkney has revealed more details about its tests.

There should be faster broadband to selected properties in Sanday, North Ronaldsay, St Margaret's Hope and Burray.

And there will be radio broadcasts over 5G to trial participants in Stronsay.

Cisco also says it will look at ways to improve productivity for a salmon farm, and a wind farm.

The firm is part of a consortium awarded the 5G Rural First contract in March 2018.

It will also be running trials in Shropshire and Somerset, which may include the use of autonomous agricultural vehicles.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Participants will be loaned special 5G devices and SIM cards

The areas selected for the testbed include communities with some of the slowest broadband speeds - so called "not spots".

The aim is to test a variety of technologies to see which work best - with the hope of delivering up to 70 megabits per second download and 20 megabits per second upload.

Analysts have identified 5G's potential as a platform for broadcast content.

But at the moment network operators have not committed to the technology without expressions of interest from broadcasters.

At the same time, broadcasters are reluctant to sign up until there is comprehensive 5G coverage.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is hoped the trails will get under way before the end of 2018

Trials like the ones planned in Stronsay are designed to break that impasse.

The aim of the initiative is to prove that remote and rural areas do not always have to be the last to benefit from advances in infrastructure.

But those behind these tests are emphasising that they are experiments. This is not the roll out of 5G. So not everything they try will work as they hope.

The consortium aims to start the trials before the end of 2018. But it is warning that Orkney's winter weather might intervene, and have an impact on what they can achieve.

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