RURAL communities with little or no mobile phone coverage look set to lead the way with the latest and fastest generation of wireless technology, with work getting under way to launch the system in their areas in the coming weeks.

Sparsely populated areas of North Yorkshire, including Rosedale, Farndale, Hutton-le-hole, Lastingham, Hovingham and Castle Howard are being considered to take part in a Government 5G technology trial.

5G follows previous generations of mobile technology such as 3G, which

led to the launch of smartphones, and 4G, which enabled faster browsing, enabling things like watching videos on the move.

While all four major UK mobile networks have launched 5G services, technology firms are rolling out devices that can use 5G, which is much faster than previous wireless technology, has greater capacity and is also more responsive.

A North Yorkshire County Council report states a consortium of bodies, including universities, have come together to undertake the project and the coming weeks will see an assessment for the appetite and adoption of the project in the areas and start to recruit early adopters to use the technology.

It adds the “network build phase” will begin in early July and will assess the location’s suitability from a coverage perspective and will be used alongside the socioeconomic factors to agree the final locations to be proposed.

The project will explore and highlight how mobile access connects people by reducing loneliness and isolation, boosting tourism opportunities, providing mission critical support for the emergency services network, enhancing the safety of the area through environmental monitoring and providing a better mobile signal.

It will also examine how 5G enables residents to access health and social care services digitally.

The report states: “Through dialogue with the local community the aim is to unlock the potential of these forgotten areas, by proving mobile access can assist in recovering the social and economic fabric of rural communities and influence national direction on rural connectivity.”

The project follows years of frustration for residents, businesses and councils, during which time numerous attempts to incentivise mobile networks to provide mobile coverage in isolated areas have failed.

Upper Dales councillor Yvonne Peacock said Swaledale had persistently been overlooked when it came to mobile coverage so the scheme was desperately needed and would prove a game-changer for residents and businesses.

She said: “The 5G technology is very powerful and will give the opportunity for businesses to locate in places where they haven’t been able to previously, meaning more people can live and work in the dale.

“In addition, it is going to attract and enable more young people to stay in the area.”