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Ubiquitous Connectivity

5G RuralDorset

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5G RuralDorset is a ground-breaking project to understand how next generation connectivity can help people live better, safer and more prosperous lives in rural communities, even in environments as sensitive as Dorset’s UNESCO-designated world heritage coastline. We aim to show how enhanced connectivity can make Dorset a better place to live, work and visit.

This research and development project will contribute to the understanding of how 5G can be used to address specific challenges within 4 main areas – agriculture and aquaculture, developing a rural business accelerator, coastal safety, and creating an innovation accelerator.


Our Role in 5G RuralDorset

We are currently developing the network that will be used for the coastal safety trials, integrating the 5G core at our Future Networks Development Centre with infrastructure provided by other partners. We are also investigating long-term options for rolling out enhanced connectivity with neutral hosting – the sharing of infrastructure between operators – and techniques for doing this, with consideration to costs and impact on the local area.

In addition to the above, our agriculture team is supporting the future of food trials, ensuring applications are designed and delivered based upon clear user need and business justification, and supporting the use of satellite connectivity and imagery within these use cases.

Research Areas


Future of Food


Future of Food

The agriculture and aquaculture trials are identifying how 5G connectivity can benefit the farming industry by solving current connectivity issues as well as enabling improved productivity and reduced environmental impact.


Rural Business Accelerator


Rural Business Accelerator

Enhanced mobile coverage for locals and 1m people who visit each year, enabling experiences such as live virtual and augmented reality at Camp Bestival.


Connected Coast


Connected Coast

These trials will look at public coastal safety in areas such as emergency response and accident prevention measures such as connected, live signage and high footfall detection.


Innovation Accelerator


Innovation Accelerator

A testbed network is being built at the heart of Dorset Innovation Park to allow defence, security, and marine teams to collaborate with technology companies.


Neutral Host

Neutral Hosting is an extension, and significant improvement, on the traditional Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) approach. In a neutral host setup, the equipment used (such as the base station equipment) is no longer operator-specific as the equipment becomes operator-agnostic. This makes it more straightforward to deploy one set of equipment through a building or location and serve users of all mobile networks from that equipment. At the outset, this makes it more affordable to deliver 5G services in rural and other hard-to-reach areas.


Within this project we will be looking at multiple deployment options of the 5G neutral host (NH) concept including active infrastructure sharing based on common and dedicated spectrum and common core network functions, as well as looking at the business challenges and security aspects. We are also completing a comprehensive study on the virtualisation of RAN (Radio Access Network) components of the NH based on proprietary vRAN (virtual RAN) and open O-RAN (Open RAN) architectures, as well as a comparison among the various architectural references, which will provide the optimum implementation strategy towards the commercialisation of NH platforms.

Our Team


Kieran Arnold

Chief Architect – Future Communications Systems


Jennifer Knowles

Project Manager


Rob Maslin

Senior Design Thinker


Marilena Kalitsounaki

5G Network System Engineer


Calum Kelly

Agri-Tech Satellite Solutions Architect


Angel Almeida

Telecommunications Systems Engineer


Izzy Taylor

Marketing Manager


Nathan Woodley

Project Marketing Executive

If you want to find out more about the people working behind the scenes on the 5G Rural Dorset Project, click here to read their bios.

Intelligent Transport


Project Ongoing


Project Ongoing