The UK government has pledged £65 million to 5G trials

20 February 2020

5G test beds

When it comes to 5G, most people’s attention is understandably on the UK networks which are beginning their roll outs, but they’re not the only organisations invested in making the most of 5G in the UK. In fact, the UK government is too, and it’s just handed out £65 million towards that cause.

Three targeted areas

That £65 million is split into three chunks:

5G Create

One of these is £30 million for an open competition dubbed ‘5G Create’. This is aimed at developing new uses for 5G in industries such as TV, film and video games, as well as the likes of energy, water, health and social care, and logistics.

Examples given of potential 5G uses in these industries include remote production and enhancing the world of esports. So while it sounds like the competition is open to many industries, the focus seems to be on creative ones.

This competition runs until the end of June, so we won’t find out the winning bids for a while yet. One thing to note though is that “none of the winning projects, or future projects from 5G Create, will use equipment from high risk vendors” - meaning Huawei is out. It’s worth noting also that the government recently launched another similar competition, but this time aimed at rural areas.

Industrial projects

Next up there’s more than £5 million for a pair of industrial projects led by Ford Motor Company and Zeetta Networks, which will apparently see how and if 5G can boost productivity in the manufacturing sector.

Rural Connected Communities 

Finally, there’s a £30 million chunk headed to the Rural Connected Communities (RCC) projects. These RCC projects aren’t new projects though, and this cash injection falls under the £200 million that the government had already set aside for its larger 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (5GTT), of which the RCC projects are a part.

The RCC projects include five in England, as well as one in Wales and one in Scotland, and there are plans to launch similar projects in Northern Ireland too.

Test sites

Test sites will be set up in Yorkshire, Gwent, Monmouthshire, Orkney, Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Dorset, Shropshire and Worcestershire, and while each location has a slightly different focus, they’re all broadly interested in supporting the deployment of 5G in rural areas, by developing new use cases and identifying those that could benefit rural places.

The full list is as follows:

  • The Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY) project, which will focus on developing new technologies, apps and services designed for rural areas.
  • West Mercia Rural 5G, which through projects in Shropshire and Worcestershire will explore infrastructure challenges when planning, building and operating a rural 5G network.
  • The 5G Connected Forest project, which in Sherwood Forest will explore the potential for 5G applications in the preservation of forests and their environment.
  • The MONeH (Multi Operator Neutral Host) Consortium, which will look into providing coverage solutions in places where a conventional 5G roll out isn’t commercially viable.
  • 5G RuralDorset, which will explore the use of 5G in coastal public services, agriculture, tourism, education, and safety.
  • 5G NewThinking, which will look at the provision of mobile connectivity primarily using shared spectrum and local spectrum.
  • Connected Communities in the Rural Economy (CoCoRE), which aims to demonstrate how 5G technology can open up new opportunities for businesses and citizens.

More details of each product can be found here.

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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