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BBC trials live radio over 5G in rural areas

BBC trials live radio over 5G in rural areas

The BBC is testing live radio broadcasts over a 5G network as part of the 5G RuralFirst initiative.

This could eventually result in people in rural areas, such as the far reaches of Scotland, being able to listen into BBC radio programming live, where they couldn't because of a lack of traditional AM/FM or digital radio reception.

The trial is taking place in Stronsay, Orkney and will run for an initial six week period.

It will use a modified version of the BBC Sounds application and a "broadcast-ready" smartphone.

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Those taking part will have access to live broadcasts that are different from normal live streaming in that a single programme will be sent by the Beeb over a wide area and able to be tuned into by multiple listeners in range who have the test equipment. A live-streamed programme is sent individually to each person that requests it.

This effectively reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to send the broadcast as it is only sending the one transmission rather than multiple versions to different users.

"When lots of people want the same live programme at the same time, broadcasting it over 5G can help reduce congestion on the rest of the network," the company said.

5G RuralFirst is an incentive run by a consortium of companies and institutions, having been put together by Cisco and includes the BBC, the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Futures Trust.

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