Public Services > Central Government

Government beefs up 5G development

Matteo Natalucci Published 16 October 2017

New test locations are being sought all across the UK to support the future rollout of 5G technology


Digital Minister Matt Hancock has announced a government plan to launch a £25m competition to further 5G technology’s development across the nation.

5G will enable Internet speeds to keep up with the increasing data demands in the ‘internet of things’ (IoT) with potential speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

This first funding competition is for phase 1 of initial testbeds and trials projects that will help to develop the UK’s “5G ecosystem” whether by exploring the potential for 5G to deliver benefits for businesses; developing new 5G applications and services; developing and exploring new business models around key 5G technologies; or by reducing the commercial risks associated with investment in 5G.

The “5G Testbeds and Trials” competition is part of the UK Government’s £740m National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to support the next generation of digital infrastructure, including 5G and full fibre broadband.

This 5G innovation boost also comes on the back of the announcement that by the end of this year a government investment of £1.7bn will have supported the rollout of superfast broadband to 95% of the UK.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said, “We are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G. In these very early stages we want all ideas, from all parts of the country, that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators.”

“It’s all part of our determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, and deliver for all citizens now and in the years to come.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Jones said, “Improving productivity requires targeted and sustained investment, which is why we are backing the UK’s digital infrastructure with over a billion pounds of government funding. Whether we are doing business online or the weekly grocery shop online, strong and reliable connections are crucial to this.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward in bringing 5G to the UK and ensuring our digital infrastructure is fit for the future.”

Projects are expected to be industry-led or have a strong industry component and funding will only be available to UK registered organisations.

Details of future funding opportunities for additional testbeds and trials will be available as the programme develops. It is likely that future funding will also include large multi-year projects that could be focused in areas that align with the Government’s strategic priorities or which help to address deployment or technical challenges that help to deliver the objectives of the Government’s 5G strategy.


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