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BT C-RAN 5G architecture pilot scheme live in Leeds

BT takes next-gen mobile connectivity a stage further with a 5G pilot scheme to enhance coverage and connectivity in key UK city enabling local customers to access faster, more reliable speeds

Furthering its stated strategy of going all in on fibre and 5G, BT has announced a pilot scheme in Leeds using cutting-edge C-RAN 5G technology to gain a better understanding of how 5G can best be delivered to meet the demands of the country and transform future connectivity.

C-RAN uses cloud technology and specialist software to support 5G connectivity, meaning it can be fitted into a range of smaller, more compact units so that in future it could be installed as individual street works or fitted to existing street furniture, such as lampposts or CCTV, to deliver a 5G signal.

The infrastructure is currently being used by EE and Three UK networks for the trial, which has the ultimate aim of enhancing coverage and connectivity for those visiting, working or living in the principal city of Yorkshire, and will serve as a proof of concept for future developments. The project has seen the first three units live in Leeds, with a further three to follow in the coming months, allowing BT to track how the infrastructure improves access in the area.

As well as enabling local customers to access faster, more reliable speeds on their mobile devices, introducing improved 5G connectivity could, in the long-term, be used to provide a platform for the city to access other community and business developments. This might include the creation of virtual classrooms, air quality and pollution monitoring, and improved support for assisted living.

“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,” said Alex Tempest, managing director of BT Wholesale, part of BT’s Enterprise unit. “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.”

News of the 5G project comes days after BT announced plans to combine its Global and Enterprise units into a single B2B unit – BT Business. The combined unit is designed to take advantage of the scale and capabilities of BT Group to develop and deliver market-leading products and services for B2B customers, including next-generation connectivity and unified communications, multicloud networking and advanced security solutions. The new unit will also offer a single interface to BT Group for corporate customers and public sector institutions, combining vertical sector expertise and capabilities, and removing the current duplication between Enterprise and Global.

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