QL awarded 5G and TV whitespace field trials

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Satellite Solutions Worldwide Group, a global player in the delivery of alternative super-fast broadband services, has announces that Quickline Communications (QL), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSW, has been awarded 5G and TV whitespace field trials funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, responsible for delivering superfast broadband and local full fibre networks to the nation.

QL was selected through a competitive process to be part of a £2.1m grant funded project aimed at exploring and establishing the standards of the next generation of 5G fixed wireless broadband services utilising unused TV whitespace spectrum to increase superfast wireless broadband penetration in very rural areas.

Working alongside a consortium of several hardware manufacturers, BDUK and academic teams from Kings College London, Lancaster University and Kingston University, QL will be building and developing a new type of wireless network, which gives it the ability to connect customers in areas which have previously been unsuitable for its standard ultra-fast 5 GHz wireless services due to interference, or local topography. The spectrum and equipment being utilised in the trials shows better propagation in areas where trees and buildings combine with the terrain to impair 5 GHz transmission.

The overall aim of the project is to improve and extend availability and coverage of superfast internet across existing wireless coverage locations in highly rural areas of Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Inverness-shire, Perthshire and Monmouthshire. This network will continue as a testbed for other technologies and industries.

The trial is fully funded by BDUK and QL expects the project to enable it to connect an extra 300 new customers and be EBITDA neutral in this financial year and generate a positive EBITDA of approximately £100,000 in year two. A key benefit to QL of embracing the new technology is that it will enable it to significantly improve its coverage ratios when preparing and bidding for BDUK infrastructure projects. It is expected if the trial goes well, it will lead to a full commercial deployment of the technology alongside QL’s other fixed wireless technologies.

Steve Jagger, Managing Director of Quickline Communications, said: “We believe superfast TV Whitespace technology will work well alongside our higher capacity wireless to deliver superfast services to very remote areas and properties including locations that our current standard fixed wireless services cannot universally reach, such as those surrounded by trees.

“In commercial terms, we believe that helping to develop and utilise this technology will mean that we can increase our ability to connect potential customers who approach us for a connection from 70 per cent of callers to over 90 per cent. This will really increase our network reach as a business as well as improving the ROI of our marketing spend. This consortium brings together innovative businesses and leading Universities to further reinforce SSW’s commitment to make the Superfast Internet Anywhere dream a rural reality,” Jagger concluded.


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