UK Government releases £40m for further 5G testbed and trial projects
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright announced that £40 million will be invested in 5G testbed and trial projects across UK industry, at 5G World Conference as part of London Tech Week.

While previous investment in the 5G testbeds and trials programme has driven work in the healthcare, tourism, transport and broadcasting sectors, this latest investment will support similar work in the logistics and manufacturing sectors. The projects will trial ways of boosting these sectors’ productivity and could cover different manufacturing processes as well as across road, air, and sea based freight logistics.

This latest round of investment is through a £200 million project to test 5G. In addition to the funding, the government will consult on proposals to simplify planning processes in England to both support the further roll-out of 4G and aid the faster introduction of 5G.

DCMS expects that a public competition will launch later this year for the next 5G testbed and trials in the UK. It will be open to bids from across the whole of the UK. The funding announcement also mentions that the government has “undertaken a thorough, evidence-based and hard-headed review of the 5G supply chain to ensure the secure and resilient roll-out of 5G. Throughout the review, we have consulted extensively with industry and have been clear from the start on their need to comply with the government’s final decision which will be published in due course.”

The Ministry of Defence, in partnership with DCMS, will make 168MHz of new spectrum in the 8GHz band available to aid the deployment of fixed and mobile networks. This takes the total amount of spectrum released under the Public Sector Spectrum Release Programme (PSSRP) to 552MHz.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we’re making sure that Britain has a telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future.

“5G is about more than mobile phone consumers having a fast and reliable connection anywhere in the country. It’s a vital piece of technology that can be used to improve the productivity and growth of our industrial sectors. That’s why we’re excited to develop new trials in areas such as manufacturing and logistics that can really benefit from 5G.”

Hamish MacLeod, director at Mobile UK, said: “Getting the planning system right for future 5G and today’s 4G networks is critical to ensure the UK continues to lead the world in digital connectivity. It is right that the Government has announced it is to look at simplifying planning processes and we stand ready to work in partnership to ensure this can happen as quickly as possible to aid the continued rollout of mobile networks.”

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