The trial began in February this year with Stronsay residents becoming some of the first people in the world to receive live radio over 5G mobile networks.
Early evidence shows the trial is proving popular with participants. Initial research has found 90% to be satisfied with the mobile internet service, 100% were satisfied with the range of stations provided by the radio signal, and more than 50% were satisfied with the quality of reception.
By extending the trial the BBC will be able to further optimise the technical parameters of the radio signal and to collect more technical data to help understand live 5G broadcasting in greater detail.
Kieran Clifton, Director of Distribution and Business Development, BBC, said: “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from those taking part in our 5G broadcast trial, and how much they value being part of it, so we’re delighted to be able to extend it until later this year. It’s also been a success from an engineering perspective, with high levels of quality and consistency in the experimental service. The extension gives our experts a chance to continue to improve on their work so far, and get even more insight into live 5G mobile broadcasting, how it could be deployed, and how it could help audiences in rural areas.”
The trial is part of Cisco’s 5G RuralFirst initiative, where several other trials will also explore the potential of 5G for rural businesses and communities across the country.
Working with the Orkney Islands Council, the island of Stronsay, Orkney, was identified as an ideal location for the 5G Broadcast radio trial, in part because of its limited existing fixed and mobile broadband connectivity and poor digital radio coverage.
The trial was launched on 22nd February 2019, delivering 13 BBC radio stations through a modified version of the BBC Sounds app, including BBC Radio Orkney, as well as mobile broadband access.