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BT brings 5G to rural Wales for 100th Royal Welsh Show

Press release   •   Jul 25, 2019 09:30 BST

The benefits of 5G are being highlighted by BT at the 100th Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, taking place in Llanelwedd in mid Wales.

BT has installed 5G at the Showground, making it one of the first, permanent rural 5G networks in Europe.

Visitors to the annual show – one of the largest agricultural shows in Europe – have been able to see how 5G technology could transform our lives in future, with a demonstration of a 5G-connected driverless pod at the showground.

The driverless electric vehicle being demonstrated at the show is one of the first self-driving pods in the world to be connected to a live 5G network, and highlights the possible future uses of 5G technology. BT’s Enterprise business has partnered with Westfield Technology Group, which manufactures the driverless pods, to bring the live demonstration to this year’s show. The vehicles can be used across a wide range of environments and industries and are being considered as a sustainable transport alternative in rural areas such as national parks.

Connecting the pods with 5G transforms the range of applications that can stream data to and from the pod in real-time, including 3D mapping models, video from the on-board safety cameras and infotainment for passengers.

Nick Speed, BT Group Director for Wales, said: “5G is the next generation of mobile technology and will transform the way we live and work. We’re hugely excited about what we can do with 5G today, and in the future. This activation at the showground shows one of the many possibilities for farming, agriculture and rural tourism.”

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “It’s excellent news that 5G is now available at the Royal Welsh showground and a great way to mark the show’s centenary. The Welsh Government has worked closely with EE from the outset to establish a mast at the showground and it is currently the only one outside of major cities which has been upgraded to 5G.

Mr Waters added: “As part of our Mobile Action Plan we have highlighted innovation and emerging technologies, including 5G, and the importance of working with major events, such as the Royal Welsh, to improve connectivity. 5G also opens up opportunities for agriculture technology developments and autonomous vehicles, and it’s great to see this innovation happening in the rural community.”

Julian Turner, CEO of Westfield Technology Group, said: “We are really privileged to showcase the first driverless pod, rural 5G solution in the world. This is a perfect opportunity to illustrate how technology can improve people's lives in a rural setting, and what better place to show it than the Royal Welsh Show.”

EE, the UK’s number one mobile network and part of BT Group, became the first network to launch 5G when it switched on coverage in six UK cities, including Cardiff, on 30th May 2019. It will be extended to the busiest parts of ten more UK cities this year.

5G will bring a faster and more reliable mobile connection – particularly in crowded areas – and will enable a range of new, 'smart' devices to connect to the web using the superfast network.

Notes

  1. EE is the largest mobile operator in the UK, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to its customers. EE is part of BT’s Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT’s consumer customers in the UK. EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast 4G in more places than any other operator after pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012. Today, EE’s retail presence exceeds more than 600 shops across the UK. For more information on EE’s 5G network, 5G devices and 5G Smart plans customers can visit www.ee.co.uk/5G
  2. Having been the first mobile network operator to launch 5G in the UK – with launch cities London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester – EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of ten more UK cities in 2019. These cities are: Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry and Bristol.
  3. Autonomous vehicles generate significant amounts of data from the large numbers of on-board sensors that enable them to move safely. They also need to regularly download mapping data to understand their environment, and with 5G, this can be achieved in real-time. The technology has the potential to transform transportation and agriculture, including concepts such as autonomous tractors in the future. For more information on Westfield’s driverless-pod, visit Westfield’s website

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2019, BT Group’s reported revenue was £23,428m with reported profit before taxation of £2,666m.

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For more information, visit www.btplc.com