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October 16, 2017

UK Government injects £25m into 5G trials

Competition heats up across the UK as government looks for new projects to boost 5G targets.

By April Slattery

A £25m nationwide competition aims to bring the UK a step closer to becoming a ‘world leader’ in 5G development technology.

As part of the UK Government’s £740m National Productivity Investment Fund to support the next generation of digital infrastructure, the Government has launched a competition entitled “5G Testbeds and Trials”. The competition aims to support the future of digital infrastructure across the UK, including 5G and full fibre broadband development.

Test locations are being scoured out across the UK to encourage businesses from around the country to offer projects to the government that will support the 5G technology development. Successful projects could be backed with up to £5m.

Digital Minister, Matt Hancock, made the announcement earlier today and said: “To stay competitive we must be at the cutting edge of new technology and we are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G.

“In these very early stages we want all ideas,

UK Government injects £25m into 5G trials

UK aims to be world leader

from all parts of the country, which will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have nationwide network of 5G innovators.”

Using 5G technology will allow internet speeds to keep up with the development and increasing demand of devices that need a connection, such as the increase of smart devices in homes compared to 10 years ago.

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In addition to providing a network for the increasing amount of devices, 5G technology also has the potential to increase the current speed users receive through 4G. Speeds of up to 10Gbps could be reached, making it much easier to download or upload HD and 3D videos.

Currently, the 5G for Europe Action Plan is controlling planning and regulations of 5G infrastructures across Europe, including the UK. With Brexit looming, it brings cause for concern across some industry faces as questions spark to whether the UK can continue to achieve its world leader status away from the EU.

William Newton, President and EMEA MD at WiredScore, said: “Brexit has posed a significant risk to the UK’s ability to achieve its vision of being a global leader. When the UK retires from the EU table, it will need to ensure that it doesn’t fall behind on 5G planning and innovation if it wants to meet its goal.

“With £25m to be invested in a competition for ideas around how the technology can boost the economy, the Government is ensuring that it continues to stimulate industry outcome-driven innovation within this field.

“Whether this will be enough to keep the UK competitive is yet to be seen, but it is certainly refreshing to see the Government investing in how advanced connectivity technologies will revolutionise our industries.”

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The competition will be open to UK registered organisations only, for industry-led projects that can be carried out in the UK in collaboration with other organisations too.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones, MP said: “Today’s announcement is a big step forward in bringing 5G to the UK and ensuring our digital infrastructure is fit for the future. Whether we are doing business online or the weekly grocery shop online, strong and reliable connections are crucial.”

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