Royal Welsh Show improves mobile connectivity for visitorsThe Royal Welsh Show, the biggest agricultural event in Europe, brings together the farming industry and rural community and plays a vital contribution to the economy of Wales. Attracting over 240,000 people, the show has a wide variety of activities, including shopping, crafts, competitions, sports, horticulture, food and drink, exhibitions, and entertainment. The Society also hosts its Smallholding Festival and Winter Fair in addition to other events on the iconic showground.
The high number of visitors attending these events and businesses using data services for electronic point of sale, previously burdened the network with insufficient capacity. It became apparent that although there was temporary infrastructure placed on the site to help boost connectivity during showtimes, a more permanent solution was needed. The topographical and geographical constraints of Powys, known to be one of the hardest to service rural areas in the UK, was affecting visitors and exhibitors, and new infrastructure investment was required to address this.
“It’s excellent news that 5G availability at the Royal Welsh showground has expanded even further. In these difficult times, this will help lay the foundations for recovery with 5G opening up opportunities, not only for agricultural technology but wider sectors such as broadcasting. Our Mobile Action Plan for Wales has highlighted the importance of this type of innovation through the use of new and emerging technologies, and this shows what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together.”
Lee Waters, The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Digital infrastructure.
To help improve the connectivity issue, the Royal Welsh Show organisers worked with the Welsh Government to address the opportunity of achieving enhanced digital connectivity for the event.
The Welsh Government, through commitments made in their ‘Mobile Action Plan for Wales’, initiated the requirement with two well-known Mobile Network Operators who were then supported by Cornerstone, the UK’s leading mobile infrastructure services company, to facilitate the project.
It was deemed necessary to have a new base station on the showground as an appropriate solution to the network coverage and capacity issues. Cornerstone, the Operators and the Show organisers engaged with the Welsh Government and local stakeholders, including Powys County Council, Parish Councils, Welsh Members of the Senedd and MPs, to identify the most suitable siting and design of the base station.
Consultations with local stakeholders were carried out, and planning approval from Powys County Council was subsequently achieved post-application. The base station was approved utilising new planning legislation that the Welsh Government adopted in April 2019 as part of the ‘Mobile Action Plan for Wales’.
Following this, Cornerstone and the Royal Welsh Show signed an agreement under the Electronic Communications Code legislation to help boost their mobile connectivity for show visitors. The agreement supports the Government’s intention to make it easier to install and maintain mobile infrastructure through using the Code. All parties have collaboratively worked together to make the site live for future shows.
The installation of the mobile equipment on the site is complete and offers a 4G and 5G network, which has already demonstrated the opportunities and benefits available to the Welsh rural community.
- The new base station provides better connectivity and coverage and delivers more significant opportunities for the Royal Welsh Show, the ‘Young Peoples Village’, and the local community.
- Show visitors will experience enhanced access to mobile networks and online facilities during events.
- The 5G network will help exhibitors showcase agricultural technology, giving visitors an insight into innovations.
- 5G connectivity will offer live broadcast prospects and Virtual Reality streaming at the live events, giving non-attendees a chance to experience the Royal Welsh Show.
"We are proud to be part of this exciting mobile technology roll-out. As well as it being a great opportunity for the Royal Welsh Show and the local community, it's evident that the new Code legislation, new planning legislation, and the Mobile Action Plan are working. With all parties engaging positively and collaboratively, we can help deliver greater connectivity for the benefit of local communities, businesses and visitors to the local area."
Belinda Fawcett, Director of Property and Estates and General Counsel, Cornerstone.
“Improving connectivity is an important part of the Society’s business strategy. It supports the commercial aspect of each event within an increasingly cashless society, which is important for our traders to sell their goods. It also supports our customers desire to communicate whilst attending events and to access social media and other platforms, which is becoming more central to our way of life. It is important that the society continues to move with the times and embrace new technologies in this way if we are to remain relevant for the next generation.”
Steve Hughson, Chief Executive, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
< Previous Next >