Government-funded projects pave the way to make UK a 5G leader

09 April 2018

The government has announced the winners of a £25m competition to pave the way for the rollout of 5G technology.

The six testbed projects will receive between £2m and £5m in government grants as part of a total investment of £41m from private sector and other public sector funding.

The winners include 5G RuralFirst which is led by Cisco with the University of Strathclyde as lead partner.

Based primarily on the Orkney Islands and in the farmlands of Shropshire and Somerset, the project will look at integrating spectrum sharing strategies for 5G; bringing connectivity to rural communities and enabling smart farming; and innovative methods of delivering broadcast radio over 5G working with the BBC.

The 5G Smart Tourism testbed will focus on delivering enhanced visual experiences for tourists using AR and VR in major attractions in Bath and Bristol.

Content and technology developments will be provided by the BBC and Aardman with support from the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab. It will demonstrate self-provision of 5G and Wi-Fi, mmWave backhaul, and will also address safety issues by providing emergency service capacity through network splicing.

The Worcestershire 5G Consortium will focus on ways to increase industrial productivity through preventative and assisted maintenance using robotics, Big Data analytics and AR over 5G. It will also have a cyber security aspect, with QinetiQ providing assurances on the ‘security by design’ of 5G and IoT. It will be lead by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership consortium.

Other winners include the Sensor City project that aims to reduce the digital divide in deprived communities across the Liverpool City Region; the AutoAir testbed for connected and autonomous vehicles which is led by Airspan Communications; and the 5G Rural Integrated Testbed which aims to ultimately make high-quality connectivity available across Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Inverness-shire, Perthshire and Monmouthshire.