Liverpool Uni leads £9m push to boost digital connectivity

A £9m project to boost digital connectivity across Merseyside is being led by the University of Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

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Open RAN technology could boost connectivity at locations such as music venues


A new £9m project will look to boost digital connectivity in high density areas across Liverpool city region.

Led by the University of Liverpool, the Liverpool City Region High Demand Density project aims to demonstrate the benefits of what is called ‘open RAN technology’. It uses low-cost power-efficient small cells to boost connectivity.

It can be used to support large numbers of users in accessing mobile and internet services in settings such as sports and music venues.

This collaborative project involves Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and a consortium of partners. It been awarded £9m funding from the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology.

Liverpool City Region HDD will initially test the open RAN technology in a simulated environment before trialling it at five test bed sites across the region. These will include a mixture of indoor and outdoor sites.

Professor Joe Spencer from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics is leading the project.

He said: “This aims to showcase open RAN technology can support agile and easily managed secure networks in and around Liverpool and demonstrate vastly enhanced connectivity in real-life high-density usage environments.

“Working with our project partners, we hope to demonstrate a new solution to address the issue of digital connectivity and exceed the performance of current and traditional technology solutions.

“This project will put Liverpool at the forefront of open RAN technology development and demonstration and we hope the outputs from this project can be adopted in the UK and overseas.”

Liverpool City Region HDD consortium is led by the University of Liverpool in collaboration with the Combined Authority and ITS Technology Group.

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Partners include CGA Simulation, Liverpool John Moores University, the Hartree Centre, Qualcomm, Radisys, Telet, Weaver Labs, Asset Market, AttoCore and Atticus.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram added: “Since I was elected Mayor, I’ve been on a mission to make our region the most digitally connected anywhere in the country.

“Building on our record of innovation, I’m really glad that we are playing a role in this pioneering project that will help to place us, once again, at the cutting edge of digital connectivity.”

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