BT brings 5G services to rural Wales for 100th Royal Welsh Show


The benefits of 5G are being highlighted by BT at the 100th Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, taking place in Llanelwedd in mid Wales.

BT has installed 5G at the Showground, making it one of the first, permanent rural 5G networks in Europe. Visitors to the annual show – one of the largest agricultural shows in Europe – have been able to see how 5G technology could transform our lives in future, with a demonstration of a 5G-connected driverless pod at the showground.

The driverless electric vehicle being demonstrated at the show is one of the first self-driving pods in the world to be connected to a live 5G network, and highlights the possible future uses of 5G technology.

BT’s Enterprise business has partnered with Westfield Technology Group, which manufactures the driverless pods, to bring the live demonstration to this year’s show. The vehicles can be used across a wide range of environments and industries and are being considered as a sustainable transport alternative in rural areas such as national parks.

Connecting the pods with 5G transforms the range of applications that can stream data to and from the pod in real-time, including 3D mapping models, video from the on-board safety cameras and infotainment for passengers.

Nick Speed, BT Group Director for Wales, said: “5G is the next generation of mobile technology and will transform the way we live and work. We’re hugely excited about what we can do with 5G today, and in the future. This activation at the showground shows one of the many possibilities for farming, agriculture and rural tourism.”

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “It’s excellent news that 5G is now available at the Royal Welsh showground and a great way to mark the show’s centenary. The Welsh Government has worked closely with EE from the outset to establish a mast at the showground and it is currently the only one outside of major cities which has been upgraded to 5G.

Mr Waters added: “As part of our Mobile Action Plan we have highlighted innovation and emerging technologies, including 5G, and the importance of working with major events, such as the Royal Welsh, to improve connectivity. 5G also opens up opportunities for agriculture technology developments and autonomous vehicles, and it’s great to see this innovation happening in the rural community.”

Julian Turner, CEO of Westfield Technology Group, said: “We are really privileged to showcase the first driverless pod, rural 5G solution in the world. This is a perfect opportunity to illustrate how technology can improve people’s lives in a rural setting, and what better place to show it than the Royal Welsh Show.”

EE, the UK’s number one mobile network and part of BT Group, became the first network to launch 5G when it switched on coverage in six UK cities, including Cardiff, on 30th May 2019. It will be extended to the busiest parts of ten more UK cities this year.

5G will bring a faster and more reliable mobile connection – particularly in crowded areas – and will enable a range of new, ‘smart’ devices to connect to the web using the superfast network.