Funding boost for UK tech innovators to seize opportunities of 5G technology

The next wave of government-funded research and development projects aiming to put Britain at the forefront of 5G technology have been announced.

Projects in Sunderland, Preston, Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton and Suffolk will test what revolutionary high-speed connectivity can do for UK industries.

The use of AI-controlled traffic lights to reduce pollution and congestion will be tested in Manchester and the potential for remote music festivals using 5G will be tested by Brighton Dome.

A project in Preston will aim to deliver the RAF’s Tempest fighter jet at half its current cost while BT Sport will explore how 5G can transform watching live sports through virtual reality.

With coronavirus requiring new ways of delivering health services, a private 5G network will be developed in Liverpool to provide remote NHS video consultations for low-income families unable to afford good connectivity.

Another trial at the Nissan factory in Sunderland will look at 5G’s ability to boost productivity through use of autonomous trucks.

Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said: “We are helping innovative thinkers across Britain use their creativity to harness the power of 5G and boost economic productivity, cut pollution and congestion, and develop the next generation of entertainment.

“The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G and bring tangible benefits for consumers and businesses across the country.

The projects will receive a share of £30 million through 5G Create, an open competition combining British creativity with innovative new uses for 5G as part of the wider £200 million 5G Testbeds and Trials programme (5GTT).

The government is pushing ahead with its plans to unlock new economic benefits and productivity boosts from 5G while commercial rollout continues at pace. It has now funded 24 5G testbeds across the UK, which have trialled almost 70 different 5G technologies, products and applications.

Today’s £30 million package consists of £16.4 million from the government match-funded by organisations ranging from large tech and telecoms companies to SMEs and local authorities.

Seventeen UK SMEs are involved in the projects, including those that will help to drive forward the government’s work to open up the UK’s telecoms supply chains. Three of the six projects – 5G Edge-XR, 5G Smart Junctions and Liverpool 5G Create – will involve British SMEs trialling the use of open access 5G infrastructure and network solutions.

BT’s 5G Edge-XR project will be tested in a platform that includes Samsung kit, marking the first time the South Korean telecoms vendor is participating in a UK-based 5GTT project.

A second round of new projects to receive funding through 5G Create will be announced in the autumn.

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