British communications infrastructure company Arqiva and pure fibre provider CityFibre have unveiled details of what they claim is ‘the UK’s largest pilot of wholesale, 5G-ready small cell infrastructure’. Under the plan the pair indeed to carry out a ‘multi million-pound’ pilot project in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, 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.’
In a press release regarding the matter, CityFibre noted that the network will comprise a fibre ring with over 90 cabinets to enable the sharing of the infrastructure. The fibre network, which CityFibre installed, will provide operators with increased, scalable and cost effective backhaul capacity, giving any cellco the ability to quickly and easily deploy small cells to connect businesses and residents to the 5G network. Meanwhile, Arqiva was awarded a concession contract with Hammersmith & Fulham in 2014 which allows it to make use of the borough’s street assets – including lampposts – to place communications equipment. It has been claimed that 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. Arqiva is said to have worked closely with the borough to select the most appropriate locations for the infrastructure to provide the greatest benefit to users.