Rural Connect NWLL

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Dr Nicholas Race

School of Computing and Communications

InfoLab21, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4WA, UK

T: +44 (0) 1524 510123


Effective member: 

The RuralConnect NW Living Lab has been established for over 6 years and has strong links with local Government, SMEs, industry and rural communities in the North West (the lab was previously known as the Wray Living Lab). Since conception, the Living Lab has grown to include a wide geographic area and encompass a number of community settings. The Rural Connect Living Lab, as its fundamental and founding principle, seeks to offer advanced communication services to areas which are not normally served by traditional Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The areas of immediate interest are real user communities which are currently being left behind by other UK based initiatives. The purpose is to work in collaboration with real end-user communities to ensure that rural areas are at the forefront of technology innovation within Europe.


RuralConnect works with a wide range of stakeholders and user groups to co-create, deploy and manage new innovative services.  Our work includes:

  • Investigating new communications, digital and new media technologies for bridging the digital divide.
  • Developing a core infrastructure which can be utilised by all Living Lab stakeholders.
  • Supporting research and experimentation with pioneering new services in digital and multimedia distribution.
  • Promoting social inclusion and empowering users to develop and lead new services.
  • Knowledge transfer and sustainable services and business models.

References and Track Record

RuralConnect is a genuine close collaborative effort between stakeholders from research, SMEs, charities that are all passionate about a common goal: bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Since 2003 we have been helping communities change their lives for the better by provide a creative and active platform that can meet the challenges of keeping pace within a constantly evolving world.  Our work has been published in major academic outlets, including IEEE Internet Computing and ACM MobiCom. 


The RuralConnect NWLL has been involved with a large number of research projects, including:

  • P2P-Next within FP7 (ICT-2007.1.5 - Networked Media)
  • ResumeNet within FP7 (ICT-2007.1.6 - New Paradigms and Experimental Facilities)
  • Intersection within FP7 (ICT-2007.1.4 - Secure, Dependable and Trusted Infrastructures)
  • EPSRC (UK research council) funded projects including CASIDE and Robust Attack Detection in Wireless Mesh Networks
  • Norwegian research council funded project P2P Media Bridge which is in collaboration with the Far North Living Lab (Tromsø, Norway)