Arqiva, the leading UK communications infrastructure company, and CityFibre, the UK’s largest alternative provider of wholesale full fibre infrastructure, have revealed details of what they claim as the UK’s largest pilot of wholesale, 5G-ready small cell infrastructure.
The multi million-pound pilot project in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is creating a brand-new 15km high density fibre network, which is multi-operator capable and provides the bandwidth for mobile network operators (MNOs) to explore advanced technology including centralised C-Ran architecture and 5G. The network consists of a fibre ring with over 90 cabinets to enable the sharing of the infrastructure.
The fibre network, installed by CityFibre, will provide operators with increased, scalable and cost effective backhaul capacity, giving any MNO the ability to quickly and easily deploy small cells to connect businesses and residents to the ultra-fast 5G network. The pilot has proven the ability of CityFibre’s networks, deployed as part of its recently announced £2.5bn full fibre investment programme, to provide a national backhaul solution for 5G rollouts.
The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham is home to around 180,000 people living in about 84,000 households in an area of 6.3 square miles. The density of its population will put extra pressure on telecoms connectivity as demand for voice and data continues to grow exponentially.
Arqiva was awarded the concession contract with Hammersmith & Fulham in 2014, allowing the company to make use of the borough’s street assets - including lampposts - to place communications equipment. These street assets are critical to network densification and are an integral part of this network rollout, along with the deployment of cabinets at street level which provide a shared space for multiple MNO small cells.