The 5G New Thinking project will look at the provision of mobile and wireless connectivity using the shared spectrum and local spectrum licencing options announced by Ofcom in July 2019.

Working closely with communities, the project will develop a community toolkit to allow the creation of networks that provide rural connectivity for cooperatives of consumers, local enterprise, councils and other stakeholders.

In its first stage the project will create models, strategies and use case demonstrators on the Orkney Islands network, and engage with community and council partners in Scotland, Northern Ireland and areas of rural England to help develop and ultimately roll-out 5G connectivity.

The project is one of seven 5G research and development projects across the UK to win funding a combined £30 million of funding following the Rural Connected Communities (RCC) competition.

Dez O’ Connor, Cisco and Chief Technologist of the 5G New Thinking Project, said: “We’re excited to be working on this new and ambitious rural connected community project with DCMS.

“The new project, 5G New Thinking, aims to showcase the benefits of 5G rural connectivity and sustainability. Cisco and its partners are bringing forward extensive knowledge from recent projects, including 5G RuralFirst based in Orkney, Somerset and Shropshire.

“We’re pleased to be working again with principal partner, University of Strathclyde, and others including BBC R&D, CloudNet IT Solutions, and also new partners such as Federated Wireless, Pure Leapfrog and the Scotland 5G Centre. “

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’re determined to make the UK a world-leader in 5G and deliver on our promise to improve connections for people and businesses across the country.”