West Mercia Rural 5G successfully bid for one of the seven Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Rural Connected Communities (RCCs) projects relating to 5G research and development. The WMR5G programme is a consortium of public and private organisations looking at how the emerging 5G network can benefit Health and Social Care.
The two Health and Social Care Use Cases that WMR5G is trialing as part of this programme are:
In delivering the West Mercia Rural 5G project, partners are looking to explore both the infrastructure challenges when planning, building, and operating rural 5G networks and if cost effective solutions can be found to scale up local roll out. In particular, if by the joint partnership between private and public purse, these networks can enhance health and social care services for residents.
In addition to the requirement of the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) that these cost benefits are measured and reported on, it is also important that the impact of this testbed informs the local authorities connectivity and digital transformation plans. The testing strategy sets out how this impact will be measured and how the evaluation is projected to be delivered.
As the infrastructure build is completed, potential for more wider use cases to be completed increases. This strategy does not prescribe specific measures or plans that any future use-case must follow however it sets out some core considerations that must be included in their application.
In enabling this evaluation strategy to be compliant with the DCMS requirements for the project funding, and equally address the local information needs shaping future digital transformation strategies, it is underpinned by the following key principles.
- Social and Clinical Engagement
- Situational Co-production
- Safeguarding and Ethical Norms
It is important that the evaluation process is transparent to maximise acceptance by local communities, monitored and peer reviewed. To this intent the delivery of this strategy will be overseen by the Health Use Case Group who will report to the Project Board.
A selection process for each evaluation plan will be agreed by the Health Use Group including cost model.
In addressing the cost benefit analysis of the infrastructure, a crude matched model can be applied. This will look at the following items
- Costs of installing new Radiofrequency network 4G and 5G
- Cost of repurposing existing Radiofrequency network
- Average time in planning committee per location
- Connectivity speed at site Broadband, 4G and 5G
- Variation in data capacity at site Broadband, 4G and 5G
- Local user survey – new site vs old site – number of responses to planning