Leeds has become one of the first cities in the UK to be fitted with the latest cutting-edge 5G technology, after a trial was launched by BT.
BT has unveiled Leeds as one of the first cities to trial new technology known as C-RAN, which in the future could be installed as individual street works or fitted in existing street-furniture, such as lampposts or CCTV, to deliver a 5G signal.
C-RAN uses cloud computing technology to support 5G connectivity, meaning it can be fitted into a range of different units.
The pilot scheme led by BT Wholesale, part of the company’s Enterprise unit, will enhance coverage and connectivity for those visiting, working or living in Leeds and serve as a proof of concept for future developments.
The project has seen the first units installed at key locations in Leeds city centre and will allow BT to track how the infrastructure improves access in the area. The infrastructure is currently being used by the EE and Three networks for the trial.
C-RAN technology uses specialist software which has the potential to be used in smaller, more compact units including existing street furniture.
Alex Tempest, Managing Director, BT Wholesale, said: “The introduction of this new technology highlights BT’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions that benefit residents, businesses, and visitors, whilst also supporting economic growth across Leeds and the wider UK.
“This trial represents another step in transforming connectivity for the future and will help us better understand how 5G can best be delivered to meet the demands of the country.”
As well as enabling local customers to access faster, more reliable speeds on their mobile devices, introducing improved 5G connectivity can in the long-term be used to provide a platform for the city to access other community and business developments.
This could include the creation of virtual classrooms, air quality and pollution monitoring, and improved support for assisted living.