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22/02/2019

BBC To Pioneer Live Radio Broadcasts Over 5G Mobile Networks

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The BBC will pioneer live radio broadcasts over 5G mobile networks in the first public trial of its kind.

The ground-breaking trial in Stronsay, Orkney, could help the BBC reach more people in rural areas in future.

The trial will run for an initial six weeks with potential to extend. It’s part of the wider 5G RuralFirst initiative, where several other trials will also explore the potential of 5G for rural businesses and communities across the country.

Using a modified version of the new BBC Sounds app and a broadcast-ready smartphone, those taking part in the BBC trial will be among the first to receive live radio broadcasts over 5G - the next step up from 4G mobile networks we use today. The trial will put live radio into their pockets and onto their smartphones for the first time, as well as all the on-demand programmes, podcasts and music mixes BBC Sounds has to offer.

The BBC believes that using the internet to deliver programmes and services will become increasingly important in the future, and wants to explore the benefits 5G broadcasting could offer. It works by sending a single version of a programme out over a wide area, which anybody in range can receive. This differs from live-streaming, where the same programme is sent individually to every person that requests it.

For audiences in rural areas, where bandwidth is often low and unstable, this means enjoying live programmes more reliably on-the-go. And 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. Not only does this free up precious bandwidth and improve the reliability of the internet, but the 5G broadcast won’t eat into people’s data allowances either.
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