Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership along with Worcestershire County Council began exploring the potential benefits that 5G could have to Worcestershire in late 2016, recognising the potential for improvements in productivity across a number of sectors, in particular Advanced Manufacturing and Health and Social Care applications.
Successes along the way for Worcestershire have included securing Department of Digital. Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) funding for two 5G projects ‘Worcestershire 5G’ and West Mercia Rural 5G’, deploying the first 5G network in a factory setting, establishing contact between the Wireless Broadband Alliance and Mettis Aerospace that saw the first industrial trials of Wi-Fi 6 in the world, receiving awards for innovation and establishing an ongoing ‘Testbed as a Service’ at Malvern Hills Science Park alongside technology partner BT.
Whilst our exciting ‘5G and beyond’ journey continues, you can find out below what has been achieved to date and how to get involved moving forward to be part of our future.
DCMS Supported project 2018-2020
In 2018 Worcestershire was chosen by Government as the home of a new 5G Testbed, putting the county at the forefront of technological innovation.
Worcestershire was one of six projects led by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and local authorities that represent the best of UK innovation, resources and expertise.
Each testbed received between £2 million and £7 million in government grants, as part of a total investment of over £40m from private sector and other public sector funding, to explore new ‘fifth generation’ mobile communications technologies that use high frequency spectrum to deliver internet speeds of over a gigabit per second. To find out more about the other testbeds, click here.
During the lifetime of the 5G consortium, 5G technology has been tested within several business led applications, the focus has been on manufacturing and how 5G technology can improve productivity. The Worcestershire 5G testbed was able to demonstrate 5G within manufacturing factories in the first UK ever 5G smart factory trials held with consortium partners Worcester Bosch and Yamazaki Mazak.
The testbed has also been highly commended at the World Communication Awards and won Most Commercially Viable Use Case at the inaugural 5G Realised ‘Use Case Awards’.
The Worcestershire 5G testbed final report was made available in November 2020 and the findings from the project show that, up to 2% efficiency gains can be possible through the adoption of 5G technology. These gains when extrapolated to the UK level would be equivalent to a contribution of £2.6 billion.
To access the final report, go to the 5G document library here.
Alongside the report, a final report video was also published to talk through the findings and hear from some of the consortium partners on the benefits of 5G. This video can be watched below.
The Worcestershire 5G testbed is now being made available as a ‘Testbed as a Service’ model. This will allow businesses to test and develop product and service solutions with a private 5G network. More information on this and how to get involved can be found in the section below.
If you would like to read the latest and historic 5G news releases linked to Worcestershire 5G, click here.
It has been concluded that 5G does not pose any health risks, for more information regarding health and safety within the use of 5G, please read the following articles and research from BBC, UK5G and 5G.co.uk.
Testbed as a Service 2020 and beyond
Post project completion, in the summer of 2020, previous Worcestershire 5G consortium members Worcestershire County Council and Local Enterprise Partnership, Malvern Hills Science Park (MHSP) and technology partner BT, along with Ericsson, have transitioned the Testbed into a sustainable model, allowing businesses the opportunity to take advantage of an unprecedented investment opportunity in the innovation and commercialisation of ‘first-to market’ 5G enabled solutions. There are three principle ‘Testbed as a Service’ propositions:
- 5G Core service
- 5G Laboratory service
- 5G Customer Site Testbed – or ‘Private 5G in a box’
These propositions represent a variety of potential entry points and customer journeys for small, medium and large businesses. Initial ideas can be experimented with by customers and their suppliers by visiting the 5G indoor Laboratory and office space at MHSP or accessing the network in the local area (coverage includes parts of Malvern town, the hills and surrounding suburban and rural environments) via the outdoor 25m mast on the site, this is likely to be for a few days or weeks at a time, although can be longer.
Alternatively, businesses can progress their ideas to the implementation of testbed services at their own sites, this may be in a dedicated development area or directly alongside live manufacturing environments.
For those interested in finding out more about utilising the Worcestershire 5G network, contact the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and set the subject to “Worcestershire 5G Access”.
The first users of the Testbed services are Worcester Bosch, QinetiQ, Worcestershire County Council and BetaDen cohort 4, along with a number of existing BT account customers and MHSP resident businesses.
UK 5G Innovation Network
UK5G is the national innovation network dedicated to the promotion of research, collaboration and the commercial application of 5G in the UK. It is a ‘network of networks’ that facilitates the engagement of organisations working on 5G activities, enhancing links between R&D teams across telecoms and other sectors, including the UK Government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme. UK5G is independent and impartial, supported by a senior national advisory board who provide expert feedback to Government from industry, identifying their priorities and advising on future areas of focus.
Register with UK5G today for free to get 5G news, resources and insight straight to your inbox, share your stories and receive invitations and discounts to 5G events. www.uk5g.org