The UK government is establishing the 5G Innovation Network to coordinate with industry in the development and promotion of the country’s 5G ecosystem. So what exactly will that involve? Read on to find out more.
What is the 5G Innovation Network?
At the 2017 Spring Budget, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced its intention to create a UK 5G Innovation Network to operate alongside the existing 5G Testbeds and Trials programme.
While the latter continues to help form the technological basis for 5G in this country, the 5G Innovation Network will assist those efforts by helping to bring together and promote the resulting 5G ecosystem.
This ‘network of networks,’ as the UK government’s updated 5G strategy guide puts it, is intended to help coordinate the various organisations working on 5G applications and services here in the UK. It will join together 5G-related businesses of all sizes, from start-ups and Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to large businesses and academic institutions.
Another aim for the network is to create a centralised source of information on 5G for the industry, while it will also serve as a global marketing brand to help encourage 5G investment from outside the UK.
Chris Warkup, CEO of KTN, describes the initiative as “An independent, impartial Network to share information and to encourage industry-led collaboration” with the aim of making the UK “a world leader in 5G services”.
Who will deliver the 5G Innovation Network?
Following a competition set in October 2017, the UK government has selected a winning consortium of three companies to deliver this 5G Innovation Network.
The consortium is led by Cambridge Wireless (CW), which is the leading international community for wireless, mobile, internet, semiconductor and software technology companies.
Also part of the consortium is TM Forum, which is an association of some 850 communication and digital service providers, and the UK innovation network Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).
Between them the members of this consortium are able to bring together and represent a vast network of thousands of organisations and businesses involved with the global telecommunications industry.
While it’s been commissioned by the UK government, the 5G Innovation Network will work entirely autonomously. The network will be overseen by an independent advisory board, which will continually inform and review its operations.
This advisory board will also advise the government in matters relating to the development of 5G in the UK.
What exactly will the 5G Innovation Network do?
The 5G Innovation Network will do a number of things to promote the development of 5G here in the UK.
This will include bringing together and marketing the UK 5G ecosystem through a range of projects funded by both the UK government and the private sector. It will also work with the Department of International Trade (DIT) to pave the way for overseas investment in UK 5G projects.
As part of its remit, the 5G Innovation Network will also be a regular source of news and information concerning the emerging UK 5G ecosystem.
Finally, the 5G Innovation Network will deliver a national calendar of events geared towards the technology supply-side, as well as towards helping stimulate industry demand.
The 5G Innovation Network will officially launch in early 2018.
Ahead of this, the consortium in charge of the 5G Innovation Network has been focusing on forming collaborative links with key partners. It claims to have initially engaged three associate partners i.e. Digital Catapult, Real Wireless Ltd and DG Cities Ltd.
The consortium has also secured the support of key educational institutions such as Kings College, the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol - all of which have been involved in running 5G network tests under the government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials programme.
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