Rural UK 5G broadband trial to be announced by PM

rural location for 5G

Huge investment in a rural UK 5G broadband trial is expected to be announced by the PM any day now. This is great news for those currently living with sub-standard internet as 5G will be faster to install and offer cheaper plans.


So, will 5G replace broadband then? Selectra answers this question and explains all the benefits that 5G will bring.

What is 5G broadband technology?

There has been a lot of hype around 5G broadband lately and rightly so. The difference between 5G (5th Generation) and 4G is the lightning-fast speed it is capable of delivering.

While 4G download speeds average 32Mbps, on 5G this figure is around 100Mbps (but there are reports of anywhere from 80 to 550Mbps). This is tipped to increase as the 5G networks become better established!

This technology is still in the early stage of adoption but is gradually being introduced by the major networks. EE launched 5G in the UK on 30th of May 2019 and others have followed suit. At this stage, it is not available everywhere and rural areas, in particular, stand to gain a lot by jumping on this network.

What is the rural UK 5G broadband trial?

The government is expected to announce a new wave of investment in large-scale projects across the UK. It is anticipated that a large sum will go to 5G broadband trials in rural areas.

fast internet connectors

Until recently, residents in these areas could only dream of the fast broadband connections that their city counterparts experience. This is because it has been much harder to physically reach these areas to install the necessary infrastructure.

This new investment will further the progress already made by the government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials (5GTT) Programme. The Programme funded 5G Rural First (5GRF), which created rural trials for 5G connectivity across three main sites in the Orkney Islands, Shropshire, and Somerset. They have delivered 5G benefits for rural communities and industries like agriculture.

5G benefits in agriculture

While the investment into further trials will bring much more clarity, there have been some outstanding results already. When we think rural, we often picture farmland spread across rolling hills and acres of land. For this reason, this is certainly one group who can benefit greatly from 5G broadband.

Farmers spend long days (rain, hail or shine) out on their properties tending to the numerous daily tasks at hand. 5G broadband has the power to save them precious time by delivering valuable information from different parts of their operation seamlessly to their fingertips.

Here are some of the top advantages 5G broadband trials have brought to farmers and the agricultural industry:

  1. Smart sensors can be fitted to cow collars (or other livestock), monitoring their wellbeing in real-time. These sensors can even be used on a pregnant cow to tell when she’s likely to give birth, rather than staying close by and checking on her regularly.
  2. Drones using 5G connectivity can monitor livestock, fences, food and water levels even at the furthest corner of a property. Currently, drones can only be operated as far as you can see and control them.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg and new trials will really help identify and demonstrate potential and actual benefits. It’s not just farmers who will notice significant improvements but also communities.

How will 5G broadband benefit our communities?

The list of benefits is huge and will continue to grow as we rely even more on technology and being connected. To start, communities without fast broadband will have access to modern-day essentials like online shopping and banking, as well as communicating with friends and family better.

Furthermore, 5G broadband will give us the following benefits:

5g information
  • Save time - with faster speeds there will be less time waiting for files to upload and download.
  • Live in the cloud - there will be less need to download files because streaming will be possible thanks to 5G. This takes the pressure off gadgets and frees up memory storage.
  • Save money - companies will be able to send you a wireless router with instructions, rather than send an engineer, like with fibre. You won’t have to pay for line rental either.
  • Faster connection now (or soon) - home broadband isn’t high speed everywhere yet. 5G has the potential to be as fast as fibre broadband, making it a great alternative because it is simpler to ‘install’.
  • Remote working - not only will it open up more jobs to rural communities but it could also bring professionals to these areas remotely, e.g. an online doctor’s consultation.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) - there is no end to the number of devices or appliances we can connect in our homes. From lighting, AI assistants, thermostats, TVs to watering systems, your imagination is really the limit here. This could free up residents in remote locations to get out more.

When can you expect 5G broadband?

If you live in an area with a slow connection you are probably keen to get either 5G broadband or superfast broadband. Why not read our full fibre broadband update for tips and information. If your heart is set on 5G now, call us so we can see if it’s available in your area for you.

We will provide a further update on the future of the rural 5G broadband trials when they’re announced.

The Government manifesto is to have the majority of the UK connected to 5G by 2027.

Will 5G replace broadband?

No, at least not in the foreseeable future.

There is a huge amount of work being undertaken to deliver full fibre broadband across the country. This represents a significant investment and 5G will complement this technology, especially in those areas that are harder to reach. This is because 5G doesn’t require cables to be connected to each property. However, 5G is considerably more expensive to maintain.

The 5G and fibre trials or rollouts are still underway which makes it hard to predict which broadband technology will come out on top. What is for sure is that faster speeds and better data connections are on the horizon.

Updated on