Orkney Islands Council Leader James Stockan has welcomed an announcement of £5 million in funding from the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
This will fund a trial aimed at demonstrating how modern mobile and wireless connectivity could be delivered in future for difficult-to-reach remote and rural communities in Orkney and across the UK.
The trial will now be developed by the partners involved – information technology company Cisco, local firm CloudNet, the University of Strathclyde, Faroese Telecom, US company Federated Wireless and OIC.
Councillor Stockan said: “I am delighted that the Government has recognised the strong case the consortium put forward for Orkney’s involvement in connectivity trials which could bring enormous benefits to communities like ours in the future.
“The project that will now be developed will build on the 5G RuralFirst test-beds and trials that were based last year at sites across Orkney and elsewhere in the UK.
“These demonstrated, for example, how the innovative use of a 5G network enabled the remote monitoring of conditions at an offshore salmon farm sited in an area, like much of Orkney, with either no or very poor connectivity.”
Councillor Stockan added: “Orkney currently is home to some of the most disconnected communities in the UK.
“This ground-breaking project will look at ways to address that – and to level the playing field – so that we aren’t left behind in a world that increasingly depends on the most modern mobile and wireless networks.
“It will involve the development of technologies that could be used in future to provide robust, reliable and financially-viable connectivity networks for remote and rural communities in Orkney and elsewhere in the UK.
“It is a project with enormous potential – and I greatly welcome the UK Government’s support. In addition, we are exploring with the Government other ways to improve connectivity across our community.”
The funding announcement from the DCMS can be read here.