The Port of Felixstowe has been selected for a major new 5G trial by the UK Government.
As part of the government’s ongoing 5G Trials and Testbeds Programme, Three UK will install a 5G Private Network at the Port of Felixstowe. This will make it the largest port to deploy 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the country.
The UK Government has supplied almost half (£1.6 million) of the funds for this £3.4 million project, which brings together Three UK, Cambridge University and Blue Mesh Solutions to test 5G’s potential use in two working port scenarios. The first involves enabling remote-controlled cranes through CCTV, while the second involves optimising the predicative maintenance cycle of the port’s cranes through the use of Internet of Things sensors and Artificial Intelligence.
It’s expected that the extra speed, low-latency and high-capacity of 5G network technology will bring about considerable productivity and efficiency gains, as well as reducing unwanted down time.
Mike Tomlinson, Managing Director, Business Three UK, said: “This project brings together the UK’s largest holder of 5G Spectrum with the UK’s largest container port, supported by world-leading experts in Operational Technology and Narrow Band Internet of Things. This is the perfect platform to test and demonstrate the full potential of 5G mobile technology to a vital and complex industry and develop use cases for wider industries.”
This isn’t the first time that 5G has been put to use on the UK’s coastline. As recently as early December 2020 Vodafone announced that it was helping to create the world’s first 5G ocean-based marine testbed in Plymouth.
The unique initiative involves establishing a network of 5G mobile sites, including one situated offshore, at the Plymouth Sound deep inlet in the English Channel. From early 2021 it will supply free access to businesses to test new applications in applied autonomy, clean propulsion, smart ports, smart shipping, and environmental monitoring.
Both initiatives feed into the UK Government’s objective to create a network of technologically advanced Freeports that can serve as global trade hubs.