This is a fascinating testament to the power of local people who often go where big utility companies fear (or I fear cant be bothered) to tread. This article tells us:

5G networks are starting to pop up in UK cities – but for many rural areas even getting a basic mobile signal remains a challenge.

This was certainly the case in the Orkney Islands, an archipelago of 70 islands off the north coast of Scotland.

Its population of 22,000 is spread across 20 of these islands and has consistently ranked as one of the most under-connected in the country.

But this could be about to change.

The 5G Rural First project, a consortium of more than 30 organisations, has been running trials with local businesses, using bespoke 5G networks, for the past 18 months.

Now, a landmark decision from Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, means these trials could become reality sooner that anticipated.

The regulator says it is opening up unused parts of the airwaves, also known as spectrum, to rural communities.

The unused spectrum is mostly owned by mobile phone companies but will now be sold to anyone who identifies a legitimate use for it.

It will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, with bids being accepted towards the end of the year.

If accepted, the bidder will have to cover costs only, which Ofcom says could be as low as £85 for a business wanting to create its own local network.

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