Rural broadband specialist Quickline Communications has teamed up with Open Ran focussed software outfit Mavenir to launch a commercialised 5G SA, cloud-based, Open RAN network in North Yorkshire.
Quickline says it is the first ISP in the UK to commercially deliver a 5G standalone, cloud-based, Open RAN solution, Fixed Wireless Access service in the Shared Access Spectrum licence – which is a very specific trophy to take home.
Quickline is heading up a £6 million project to boost rural connectivity in North Yorkshire as part of the Mobile Access North Yorkshire consortium, which successfully bid into the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s co-ordinated 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. Having taken on Mavenir as the key technology provider, Quickline has apparently been testing the fully cloud-native Open RAN solution, and has now switched on its first mast.
“We are very proud to be leading the way with this technology,” said Ian Smith, Quickline’s Chief Technology Officer. “This is a UK first and firmly supports the Government’s ambitions to provide gigabit capable connectivity to rural communities and to diversify the telecoms supply chain. As a result of being involved in the UK 5G testbed programme, we have developed and commercialised a 5G standalone, cloud-native OpenRAN network which utilises the N77 spectrum band as part of Ofcom’s Shared Access Spectrum licence.”
Stefano Cantarelli, Chief Marketing Officer at Mavenir added: “Mavenir is excited to be part of the journey in building this advanced 5G SA network based on an open system to serve remote areas of the nation. The availability of adequate broadband in rural regions is a challenge and we are pleased to see Quickline’s drive and initiative to provide high quality and reliable mobile broadband connectivity.”
The firms argue that rural areas make ideal test beds for Open RAN 5G solutions because the cloud-native, software-centric design enables ‘faster time to market and a lower Total Cost of Ownership’.