Brighton is home to the latest 5G testbed in the UK. The initiative was launched this week by Digital Catapult, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Wired Sussex and the University of Brighton.
The testbed will be based at Brighton’s business hub, Fusebox. It will offer companies a place to test 5G applications and they’ll have access to an Immersive Lab.
Locally developed immersive technology will also be showcased, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality technologies.
Mnemoscene is one of the companies that will use the testbed. The Brighton-based company uses immersive technology to create visitor experiences for cultural heritage. For example, it has developed a holographic exhibition using International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) content. Users can add artefacts to their ‘collection’ via a mobile app.
Engineering consultancy Ricardo will also be one of the first companies to use the 5G testbed.
A step forward
Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, called the Brighton testbed work, “a major step forward” in the wider roll out of 5G and taking the technology out of university labs and into the market.
He said: “5G represents more than just faster internet on the move… it’s the first mobile technology that, by design, enables free-standing set-up in individual locations, offers new companies the opportunity to control their own networks, and enables operators to manage computing at the edge as a new business model for the future."
Testbeds and trials
The UK 5G Testbeds and Trials programme (5GTT) is managed by the government’s UK5G innovation network.
The 5GTT is a key part of the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which was announced in the Government's Industrial Strategy. In total, the government is investing over £1 billion in digital infrastructure in the UK, and £200 million of this has been allocated to the 5GTT programme.
The aim of the testbeds is to develop and trial 5G and related technology, as well as to foster new business models which will contribute to UK productivity and local economic development. Currently, there are nine 5GTT projects are currently underway.
Sectors that are tipped to benefit the most from 5G connectivity include healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, transport, logistics and more.
Related: What is 5G?