SCF Gathers Industry to Accelerate Adoption of Rural Small Cell Solutions

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Small Cell Forum (SCF), the telecoms organization driving network densification worldwide, has announced that it will host the first ever event devoted to tackling the challenges of rural and remote connectivity.

It will bring together the operator and vendor ecosystem, major technology companies and a range of partner organisations to ensure that the transformative impacts of network densification and the Internet of Things (IoT) are not limited to urban locations, but can also benefit rural residential areas and industries such as farming, mining and manufacturing.

The SCF Rural and Remote Summit in Evanston, Wyoming running July 25th-26th, will be hosted by Union Wireless, one of the USA’s longest-standing and most successful rural mobile operators.

High-quality mobile connectivity is just as critical to rural and remote areas as cities, sometimes more so, since it may be the only source of broadband. The days when ‘rural connectivity’ meant best effort, leaving many consumers and businesses the wrong side of the digital divide, are over.

Not only do those customers now expect and demand the same quality and performance as their urban cousins for broadband services, but with the approach of 5G and the genesis of the Internet of Things, a host of new mobile use cases need to be mirrored precisely in urban and rural areas.

With the emergence of the Internet of Things, a host of new mobile use cases needs to be mirrored precisely in urban and rural areas. Examples include environmental monitoring, smart agriculture via ground water & atmospheric sensors, monitoring oil pipelines, etc.

Last, but not the least, is the fast emerging opportunity within the so-called “remote” market segment, which covers remote factories and remote worksites such as mines, on-land & off-shore oil rigs, etc. There is an increasing business need from such enterprises to provide highly secure and localized services, which span productivity enhancing services as well as life saving applications.

The Summit is designed to address all of the above market opportunities, rural broadband, rural IOT and remote services. It will also address commercial use cases and business & technical opportunities and challenges, not only 3G/LTE solutions, but also 5G Radio & Network technologies as well as 5G-Era enabling technologies such as Edge Computing, Private Networks and Shared Spectrum solutions.

The event marks the first in SCF’s 2018-19 work program, which covers every aspect of densification from spectrum and site policies to 5G technology and an enterprise action plan. The program reflects the growing urgency to deploy small cell networks around the world.

“It is becoming critical for the industry to focus on solving the challenges of delivering high-quality cellular coverage to rural and remote areas. Future networks will bring a host of new mobile use cases from smart farming to industrial IoT which will be vital to rural economies, while smart traffic management, or self-driving cars, cannot stop when vehicles cross city limits,” said David Orloff, Small Cell Forum Chair. “This event is about bridging the digital divide to provide connectivity for today and into the 5G era. It builds on previous successful requirement gathering events convened by the Forum in North America at the offices of AT&T in Atlanta, and in Asia at Reliance Jio in Mumbai during 2017. These demonstrated the value of bringing together the best of the industry to collaborate on the issues facing them.”