Coverdale to get 5G mobile technology as part of Government trial

Horsehouse in Coverdale. Photo: Greg Fitchett.

Residents of Coverdale will have the opportunity to be involved in testing the latest 5G technology as part of a £6m Government pilot project.

The Mobile Access North Yorkshire project (MANY) is part of a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 5G testbed and trials initiative which aims to bring mobile connectivity to rural areas that currently lack it.

Following discussions with local parish and town councils and initial conversations with community members, as well as an assessment of the area’s current mobile coverage, Coverdale has been identified as the first location in North Yorkshire that will work with MANY.

Officials say the project is now keen to hear from residents about how a lack of connectivity affects their lives.

Stories and information gathered will inform how the MANY project builds and enables, initially, a 5G fixed wireless access network providing residents with ultra-high-speed broadband and a private 4G mobile network.

As the project progresses, a 5G phone network will be added giving residents the chance to test new technology, as and when it comes onto the market, to find out how the latest wireless technology can further enhance their future.

Officials say the MANY project, led by Quickline Communications Ltd, will work with the mobile network operators to develop an agreement which will look to sustain digital connectivity past the end of the project.

Howard Thomas, chairman of Carlton Town Parish Council, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in the trial for 5G.  Mobile phone signal is becoming an essential part of people’s everyday life but it is non-existent in most of Coverdale.

“To be able to obtain a signal will have many benefits including attracting new residents and businesses to the area as well as the safety implications from living in such rural countryside.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor, local member for Coverdale, Karin Sedgwick said: “For so long areas like Coverdale haven’t been able to use the technology the majority of us take for granted.

“I am pleased that the MANY project can see the potential of Coverdale and hope that the community and the surrounding areas embrace this unique and exciting opportunity.”

Steve Jagger, chief executive of Quickline Communications Ltd, said: “This is an excellent step forward for the project.

“We are so pleased that the Coverdale community have come on-board. The next step of the project, however, is for us to listen and understand how having no mobile signal has affected residents. This will enable the project to build the right network and find the right mobile solutions.

“We look forward to working closely with the community and – together – really influencing the future of rural connectivity through offering new ways to the Government.”

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “At the moment, over a third of the geography of our county lacks 4G mobile coverage.

“That is why this project offers a really exciting opportunity to close that gap and to explore the full potential of 5G access in our more remote areas.

“I am very pleased that the residents of Coverdale are keen to join in with the MANY project, and to help us unlock the enormous potential of our rural communities.”

MANY is keen to hear from Coverdale residents, who are asked to contact the team via website, email or call 0300 404 4444.