A project in spring 2021, from a consortium of research partners led by CENSIS and working together in support of Moray’s regional growth deal, could pave the way for better connectivity in remote and rural areas by creating a new commercial model for delivering critical telecommunications infrastructure.
With funding from the Scottish Government, CENSIS, the Scotland 5G Centre, and the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre, will develop an economic model that could redefine the assessments behind infrastructure deployment, prioritising the potential value to communities over cost.
The new approach will aim to address the ‘digital divide’ between areas that have access to fast, reliable telecommunications – typically large population centres – and communities that experience limited access to increasingly vital public services, many of which are in rural Scotland.
The study will draw on a much wider range of factors to determine the overall viability of network infrastructure, rather than relying purely on the number of people in a given area.
Using healthcare as the principal use case, it will factor in the societal and quality of life benefits that enhanced connectivity could bring to rural areas. This will be determined, for instance, by the cost prevention and health benefits delivered by supporting people with underlying conditions to live more independently and avoid hospitalisation, or re-admission, through tele-medicine or remote care services.