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5G Wales Unlocked trial launches

5G Wales Unlocked is a consortium project led by the Welsh Government

Next-generation networks will improve public services, boost tourism and accelerate social change in the country’s rural and valley areas. Rural industries will become more productive, efficient and resilient. And communities will benefit from the opportunities that come with unprecedented connectivity.

5G Wales Unlocked, a new trial launched today, is a co-innovation project that aims to unlock that potential – by showing that bringing 5G to rural Wales is necessary, profitable and vital for the development of the whole nation.

5G Wales Unlocked is the innovation project behind the new immersive 360-degree classroom in Ebbw Vale, just one of several trials demonstrating how ultrafast technology like 5G could transform rural communities, from powering tech innovations in agriculture, to improving rural transport and education and bolstering the tourism industry. 

Using a localised 5G network provided by BT as one of the project partners, the classroom uses the high-speed connectivity to project inspiring and educational video content onto all four walls in a 360-degree format, providing an immersive experience.

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Lessons can be delivered across a variety of curriculum-related themes, taking children and young people on a journey of the senses as they ‘dive’ into the detail of a plant cell or explore the surface of a planet.

Thanks to the ultrafast 5G connection, live link-ups have also been established, allowing learners to discover the fascinating history of heritage sites such as Raglan Castle, with a live virtual tour from a Cadw custodian located at the site.

The live link-ups can also be used to connect classrooms across the country, meaning pupils can work collaboratively with other learners, and educators can enhance their own lessons in partnership with other schools.

Welsh Government Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles MS said:

“It’s fantastic to see learners in Ebbw Vale benefitting from next-generation technology, thanks to this innovative project.

“It’s our ambition to see Wales leading the way in using digital technology to deliver high-quality education, and to raise attainment and skills of all learners, regardless of background. This trial will help learners in rural areas engage with the curriculum in an exciting, immersive environment.”

The 5G Wales Unlocked partners are Welsh GovernmentCiscoBT Cymru WalesCardiff UniversityUtterBerry, AppyWayJam Creative StudiosBlaenau Gwent County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Council. Funding is provided by DCMS.

Nick Speed, BT Group Director in Wales, said:

“We’re excited to be part of this pioneering project looking at the potential of 5G in rural areas.

“The immersive classroom is a brilliant example of how 5G’s greater bandwidth can help deliver rich, high quality content to inspire school pupils about the world, wherever they’re located. It has the potential to reduce the education gap between areas and make sure that all pupils have access to this kind of innovative learning material.”