Statement on 5G Readiness:
The reality is 5G is still embryonic, the mobile network operators are deploying limited marketing and test releases with very limited 5G function, mainly New Radio (5G NR) which provides greater downloads.
Are Sunderland deploying 5G NR to support 5G handsets
No, Sunderland are deploying what’s termed as 5G Fixed Wireless Access, using unlicensed spectrum. See an example here: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/08/fidelity-to-rollout-first-uk-5g-fixed-wireless-broadband-in-west-sussex.html
Why is it 5G?
We have used equipment that was shown to work in the 5G testbeds as recently as September 2019; it operates in the frequencies that have been highlighted for future use by 5G; it provides multi-gigabit speeds and has low latency; America Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) have already declared they will use it https://techblog.comsoc.org/2018/01/14/att-mobile-5g-will-use-mm-wave-small-cells/
Is it a 5G Test Bed
No, this is an initial go live deployment that we will test use cases with an aim to deploy. We will not test the functionality of 5G elements like New Radio, Network Slicing etc. That is the role the test beds do for us.
Does this mean Sunderland won’t deploy other 5G elements e.g. Small Cells?
No. On the contrary, this is a transmission medium that can enable 5G Small Cell deployment more easily, as Sunderland does not currently have much fibre so getting multi-gigabit connectivity to support the likes of 5G Small Cells will require the solution we are putting in to backhaul to a meeting point with a Mobile Operator (e.g. Vodafone), e.g. Jack Crawford House.
Remember that to operate small cells you need a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) partner to provide spectrum as it is licensed. Currently our initial use cases don’t require small cells – it will be a requirement in due course and we will approach an operator to assist.
So, do we have 5G?
We have as close as it is possible to get in our use cases. We have elements of 5G – even the operators don’t have 5G, it will only be fully deployed by 2025 (Source: ITU). As standards develop fully suppliers will align. We will help to deploy 5G (small cells etc. by having a multi-gigabit backbone in place. Even when the backbone fibre our solution can be used to reach new or difficult locations.)
5G ready deployment details:
What: The sites that will receive hardware as part of the 5G ready deployment are:
- Three Towers specifically Hedworth Court, Astral House & Dock St which will facilitate the delivery of wifi connectivity into Hedworth and Dock St Community Rooms
- Installation of equipment into Hudson Road Primary School
- 5G ready Wi-Fi delivered to High Street West
- 5G ready Wi-Fi delivered to Keel Square