Rachel has welcomed around half a million pounds in Government funding to help research mobile connectivity trials at events across Worcestershire.
The research and development grant from the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) will help to explore innovative ways to address connectivity challenges at events across the county.
The project, named ONE WORD (Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE) Western O-RAN Deployment) will see rural venues and events trialling Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) mobile technology designed to increase the resilience of the mobile network.
The project looks to build low-cost flexible alternatives to the mobile coverage available currently, installing high-capacity mobile infrastructure in hard-to-reach rural locations, in a way that is visually sympathetic to the environment.
As part of the project, Worcestershire, the Council and partners will be trialling and demonstrating the use of a “network on wheels” advanced wireless solution that can be deployed to help support planned events and shows throughout the year held across the county. This network will provide effective and stable connectivity to those running the event, businesses who provide goods and services to visitors.
If successful, it’s hoped this “network on wheels” could in future be deployed quickly to provide a support network to emergency services and other organisations in response to critical incidents such as flooding.
Rachel has been campaigning to secure mobile connectivity improvements in the constituency, and she recently submitted evidence to the Government’s Connectivity Rural Champion about the impact poor connectivity is having on residents and businesses.
In welcoming the funding, Rachel said:
“I know how much of a challenge mobile connectivity is for events in rural parts of our constituency, and this issue is particularly acute for the Hanbury Show having spoken to the organisers about the impact of poor connectivity.
“This Government funding offers us the opportunity to make the improvements in mobile connectivity that desperately need to be made.
“I’ll be working with events in our constituency to make sure they take part in this trial.”