Project secures £6m to boost rural connectivity in North Yorkshire

Credit: Piotr Zajda

North Yorkshire has secured £6 million in funding for a project exploring how superfast mobile connectivity can bring benefits to rural communities in the region.

The £6 million Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) project was one of seven projects chosen in the national Rural Connected Communities (RCC) competition.

MANY will aim to use innovative technology to bring mobile connectivity to some areas of North Yorkshire currently missing out – 35% of the county currently has no 4G mobile coverage.

It will also test how superfast mobile connectivity can benefit England’s largest rural county in boosting tourism, tackling social isolation and acting as an early warning system for flooding emergencies.

The innovation project is led by Quickline Communications, one of the UK’s largest wireless internet service providers, with the County Council as a key partner to integrate the project with communities.

Other partners with Quickline include a mix of specialist small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and the universities of York and Lancaster. The partnership has secured £4.5 million of Government funding with a further £2 million being added by the industry partners.

The project, which is a continuation of the technical partners’ previous work with the 5G Rural Integrated Testbed project (5GRIT), will investigate how rural mobile connectivity can help eliminate the not-spots of North Yorkshire by developing new technologies, apps and services tailored for rural areas.

It aims to understand how the public, private and community sectors can work together to reduce the cost of delivering mobile access in rural areas.

The project is supported by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, as part of the 5G Rural Connected Communities Trials and Testbed programme. This £30 million programme supports national projects to determine how best to use the 5G technology to deliver services across the entire nation.