Quickline Communications, one of the UK's largest wireless internet providers, will lead a £6 million project to boost rural connectivity in North Yorkshire, England's largest rural county.

The Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) project aims to use innovative technology to bring mobile connectivity to the region. 35% of the county currently has no 4G mobile coverage at all.

The project will also test how superfast mobile connectivity can benefit North Yorkshire in boosting tourism, tackling social isolation and acting as an early warning system for flooding emergencies.

Quickline's partners include North Yorkshire County Council and a number of specialist small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and the universities of York and Lancaster.

The partnership has secured £4.5m of Government funding with a further £2m being added by the industry partners.

Steve Jagger, Chief Executive of Quickline, said:

"Quickline's mission is to use innovation in equipment and approach to bring ubiquitous coverage of high-speed data and associated services across the harder to reach parts of the country. We are pleased to be part of a project that shares these values and outcomes and are excited by the opportunity to push the boundaries further."

The project, which continues Quickline's work with the 5G Rural Integrated Testbed project (5GRIT), will investigate how rural mobile connectivity can be improved by developing new technologies, apps and services tailored for rural areas. It aims to understand how the public, private and community sectors can work together to reduce the cost of delivering mobile access in rural areas.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said:

"We are extremely pleased to be involved in this important project and look forward to working with our partners to create effective and efficient mobile networks across even our most far-flung rural communities.
"We will also explore how, through mobile technology, we can address social isolation, deliver health and wellbeing services, boost tourism and the wider economy and provide early warning around flooding - issues we must address in enabling our rural communities to be sustainable and to thrive.

"Up to 85 per cent of our county is what is classed as 'super-sparse'. Our population density is five times below the national average and our huge scale gives us particular challenges around digital connectivity and the cost of connecting the hardest-to-reach areas. This project is therefore a very welcome development."

The project is supported by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, as part of the 5G Rural Connected Communities Trials and Testbed programme. This £30m programme supports national projects to determine how best to use 5G technology to deliver services across the entire nation.

Oliver Dowden, DCMS Secretary of State, said:

"We're making sure our rural communities aren't left behind in the digital age. With £4.4 million of UK government funding, this project will help North Yorkshire grasp the opportunities and economic benefits of next generation 5G technology.

"We will learn valuable lessons here, that will benefit the whole country, on how 5G can boost tourism, tackle loneliness, support the emergency services network and detect flooding."