What is the DONE project?

Dorset Council is part of new £7 million government funded project to test how an open network of telecoms equipment could one day improve connectivity in harder to reach rural areas.

The problem the project is tackling

Most UK mobile phone network operators currently use equipment provided by only a small number of suppliers. The number of suppliers has reduced even further after the government removed equipment amid security concerns. This reduced choice for operators and equipment is likely to drive up costs, making bringing improved connectivity to rural areas even more difficult and expensive.

The possible solutions

The government wants to see a wider range of equipment across open networks supplied by different manufacturers.

This would have the potential to lower costs, encourage innovation and may make it easier for operators to bring coverage to areas that mobile network operators see as too difficult or expensive.

Getting things DONE

Running until March 2025, the DONE project will carry out advanced research and development into how cutting-edge technology can transform the roll-out of mobile networks in rural areas. It will examine how alternative equipment can provide enhanced performance and power savings while working with a wider range of suppliers could also make the UK’s telecoms networks more secure, competitive and resilient.

The project will also support innovators that want to develop, prototype and test their own ideas.

It is hoped this research will make the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in remote and hard to reach areas cheaper, faster and more environmentally friendly - making Dorset a better place to live, work and visit.

Four key research areas:

  • developing a 5G Open Radio Access Networks (RAN) security application.
  • creating a digital twin of wireless 5G network clusters so innovators can develop, prototype and test their own ideas. This will help them to develop alternative equipment choices for mobile network operators
  • work with telecoms company ARM to create an Open RAN demonstrator and testbed based on their servers. This will compare the viability of using an alternative server platform as an alternative to increase choice and competition, as well as examining performance characteristics such as power consumption
  • trial Fixed Wireless Access field deployment and experimentation with Open RAN equipment to understand the power consumption, performance and maintenance benefits compared with traditional infrastructure

The benefits

  • enhanced cyber threat detection and analysis
  • improved power consumption, more cost effective and environmentally friendly equipment and helping rural areas on the path to Net Zero
  • supporting innovation development in the UK
  • increasing choice and competition in the mobile telecoms industry
  • speeding up connectivity rollout in hard-to-reach areas and providing cost savings
  • real world testing with use cases that make a difference to customers

The DONE partners

  • Dorset Council
  • ARM. A global leader in semiconductor design and silicon intellectual property development and licensing
  • Keysight Technologies. International manufacturers of electronic test and measurement equipment and software
  • Wildanet. An independent Cornish based internet service provider
  • Kimcell. A local provider of information technology services, management consultancy and data hosting services
  • Telint. A telecoms and radio spectrum consultancy
  • University of Strathclyde. An academic and internationally respected research and development institution
  • Neutral Networks. Network architecture specialists