What is 5G RuralDorset?
5G RuralDorset is a project to show how next generation mobile infrastructure could be delivered cost effectively and sensitively to benefit rural businesses and communities.
A consortium of national and international organisations, led by Dorset Council, will undertake four sets of trials in rural Dorset.
The trials will look at innovative public, social and business uses of improved mobile coverage. They will test whether this connectivity can be delivered cheaper and quicker using existing masts, buildings and fibre wherever possible to minimise visual and other impacts on communities.
5G RuralDorset is supported by a £4.3m award from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The project runs until the end of March 2022.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular wireless connectivity.
Unlike 3G, 4G, etc, the term 5G doesn’t refer to a single thing but to a combination of technologies - wireless communications, hardware and software - that together offer high quality network services.
5G brings 3 new aspects to the table:
- greater speed (to move more data)
- less delay (to be more responsive)
- the ability to connect a lot more devices at once, for example, sensors
5G encompasses frequencies that can be used for both long and short range but it’s more about connecting things, as well as people, to create new uses. We’ll see how next generation connectivity can be rolled out differently to help places like Dorset enjoy the advantages of future digital capability.
Is 5G safe?
Our project will accept and follow national and international safety guidelines. These guidelines include the March 2020 updated international exposure guidelines which now include improved protection for higher frequency 5G frequencies.
Public Health England’s guidance is based on World Health Organisation’s findings, which is that exposures to radio waves below the limits recommended in international exposure guidelines do not appear to have any known consequence on health.
Recently, Ofcom published its measurements of radio frequencies near 5G mobile phone base stations at 16 locations across the UK. In all cases, the measured electromagnetic frequency levels from 5G-enabled mobile phone base stations were at small fractions of the levels identified in the ICNIRP (international Committee on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection) Guidelines.
Anyone with any evidence of harm caused by a 5G network should consider submitting it to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into broadband and the road to 5G.
Cost of the project
The trials will cost Dorset taxpayers £150,000. The remainder of the £6.675 million will be funded by Government and industry.
We know it’s frustrating not being able to get mobile signal in some areas of Dorset. The funding we've got is specifically for 5G trials, but part of the project is to understand how mobile connectivity in general could be rolled out differently in future to overcome some of the barriers that prevent network coverage in rural areas like Dorset.
This issue of bad signal is not something we can resolve – we need mobile operators and central Government to make this happen. What we learn from this project won’t cure our `not spots’ overnight but may help speed things up.
We’ve already improved broadband connections for 90,000 premises in Dorset and are committed to investing, with government, a further £8 million to provide future-proof full-fibre gigabit connections in the county.
We hope to test how 5G might bring superfast home broadband to the most remote locations.