UK government sets aside £65m for 5G trials
Written by: Charlotte Hathway | Published:

The UK government has shared details on new funding that aims to foster 5G development in rural and industrial settings.

The £65 million package is made up of £30 million for the Rural Connected Communities (RCC) competition, more than £5 million of funding for two industrial projects led by Ford Motor Company and Zeetta Networks, and a new £30 million open competition – named 5G Create – to develop new uses for 5G in a variety of industries, including our creative sectors such as film, TV and video games.

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said, “We’re determined to make the UK a world-leader in 5G and deliver on our promise to improve connections for people and businesses across the country. Today we’re announcing new funding to seize the new opportunities this technology will offer us. This includes seeing how it could create new jobs in the countryside, make businesses more productive and unleash even more ideas in our cutting-edge creative industries.”

The RCC competition will fund seven 5G research and development projects across the UK. Five of which will be in England, one in Wales and one in Scotland, with test sites set up in Yorkshire, Gwent, Monmouthshire, Orkney, Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Dorset, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

The industrial projects involving Ford will look to test the benefits of using 5G to boost productivity in the manufacturing sector, whereas 5G Create aims to demonstrate the role 5G can play in revolutionising the UK’s creative industries.

Reacting to the funding package, Julian Cunningham-Day, TMT partner at Linklaters, said, “It is encouraging to see the government providing publicity and financial support for initiatives that seek to develop use cases for 5G and other under-used spectrum resources in rural areas. Although there has been much hype about the promise of 5G at a high level, the detail of the practical benefits, and the cost and complexity of implementation, have been much less publicised.”

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