A year after launching its Digital Strategy, which outlines how the UK will become a world-leading digital economy, the government has announced that it will pump £25m into testing 5G technology in areas right around the British Isles.
5G testbeds, led by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities, and local authorities, will be setup in various locations. These testbeds will trial 5G in areas such as smart farming, healthcare through the internet of things (IoT), manufacturing, and self-driving cars.
“One year on from the Digital Strategy, we are delivering on our commitments to create a Britain fit for the future, with a thriving digital economy that works for everyone,” said Margot James, minister of state for digital and the creative industries.
“The ground-breaking projects announced today will help to unlock 5G and ensure the benefits of this new technology are felt across the economy and wider society.”
The locations set to become home to the testbeds include Strathclyde, Bath and Bristol, Worcestershire, Liverpool, and Bedford among others. Each of the tested will receive between £2m and £5m from the government in order to further the development of 5G technology.
The introduction of the testbeds around the UK follows on from the unveiling of the world’s first 5G end-to-end network created by the 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which is based at the University of Surrey in partnership with the University of Bristol and King’s College London
“The 5G Innovation Centre is extremely pleased and proud to have been able to play a leading part in in supporting the DCMS UK 5G testbeds and trials programme,” said Professor Rahim Tafazolli, founder and director of 5GIC and leader of 5GUK Networks.
“5G represents a fundamental transformation of the role that mobile technology plays in society, delivering rich new services in sectors such as finance, transport, retail and health. It will drive trillions of dollars of additional activity through the world digital economy and the DCMS programme will ensure that the UK stays at the forefront of this exciting global race.”