Mobile Connectivity – Great Expectations
Emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic will come with great expectations for mobile connectivity. The public will assume this will have come on in leaps and bounds during our enforced isolation. After all, every second ad on TV seems to be a proud promise of the best coverage and 5G mobile devices. Seven of the 34 UK 5G testbeds and trials address rural connectivity. Flo-culture is one of many digital communications companies doing their part to ensure the rural/urban digital divide is minimised. We are a partner on the Mobile Access North Yorkshire project, which aims to test 5G applications in rural North Yorkshire.
The Shift Back to Mobile Broadband
Over the last year, much of our work, learning, and entertaining have been done virtually. In most cases, our home fixed broadband networks have been used for this. As restrictions gradually ease, our mobility has slowly started to increase.
We have had a year of staying entertained at home with lag-free gaming and buffer-free streaming. Everybody will now expect the same seamless experience we have enjoyed at home when we travel. We are returning to our mobile networks with much higher demands than when we left. For example, those of us who previously downloaded content to enjoy it on the road will have new expectations. Customers will anticipate that live streaming will now work wherever and whenever we go. The trip down memory lane to mobile “not-spots” and patchy service will not give us a fond sense of nostalgia. Unfortunately, we should expect the gnawing return of our old friends: irritation and frustration.
Mobile Connectivity is a Must for Rural Tourism’s Recovery
Rural tourist destinations already heavily relied on the domestic tourism and day-trips market before the COVID pandemic. Furthermore, estimates are that these markets will recover up to two years faster than international travel or the hotel business. That is a heck of a head start in any race. But only if attractions, and the surrounding communities, have the best available mobile connectivity in place. Digital connectivity is a basic customer expectation. A lack of connectivity can be a big obstacle for businesses. There will not be a second chance for recovery in its absence once the “big boys” catch up.
So, we are looking forward to a surge in domestic tourism. We are excited about bringing outdoor connectivity to our most famous tourist destinations. Visitors will see increased capacity and faster speeds with 5G in 75% of the top 20 cities and towns for domestic tourism. Rural areas are often underdeveloped and marginalised compared to their urban neighbours. Fortunately, the progress we already see in the DCMS 5G Rural Connected Communities projects gives us hope that this won’t be the case regarding mobile coverage.