Worcestershire has been chosen by Government as the home of a new 5G Testbed, putting the county at the forefront of technological innovation.
On the first anniversary of its Digital Strategy, the government has today announced the winners of a £25 million competition to pave the way for a future rollout of 5G technology in the UK.
From the Orkney Islands to the West of England, the six projects led by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and local authorities represent the best of UK innovation, resources and expertise.
They will test 5G across a range of applications, including smart farming with drones, using the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) to improve healthcare in the home, increasing manufacturing productivity and maximising the future benefits of self-driving cars.
They are part of a £1 billion commitment through the Digital Strategy to keep Britain at the forefront of connectivity by accelerating the deployment of next generation digital infrastructure and driving forward new 5G business opportunities.
Each testbed will receive between £2 million and £5 million in government grants, as part of a total investment of £41m 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.
Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “One year on from the Digital Strategy, we are delivering on our commitments to create a Britain fit for the future, with a thriving digital economy that works for everyone.
“The ground-breaking projects announced today will help to unlock 5G and ensure the benefits of this new technology are felt across the economy and wider society.”
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Founder and Director of 5GIC and leader of 5GUK Networks said: “The 5G Innovation Centre is extremely pleased and proud to have been able to play a leading part in in supporting the DCMS UK 5G testbeds and trials programme. 5G represents a fundamental transformation of the role that mobile technology plays in society, delivering rich new services in sectors such as finance, transport, retail and health. It will drive trillions of dollars of additional activity through the world digital economy and the DCMS programme will ensure that the UK stays at the forefront of this exciting global race.”
A team of 5G and Industry 4.0 experts lead the Worcestershire project with Worcestershire LEP, the consortium comprises: Worcestershire County Council, 5GIC at University of Surrey, AWTG, Huawei, O2, BT and Malvern Hills Science Park. With local businesses Worcester Bosch, and Yamazaki Mazak it will focus on ways to increase industrial productivity through preventative and assisted maintenance using robotics, big data analytics and AR over 5G.
Worcestershire’s 5G project will also have a cyber security aspect, with QinetiQ providing assurances on the ‘security by design’ of 5G and IoT technology. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to test 5G capabilities in a new commercial tech accelerator located at the Malvern Hills Science Park.
Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and 5G lead for Midlands Engine, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid which will help businesses deliver greater productivity using 5G technologies. This highlights the huge ambition of Worcestershire’s innovative public and private sector, with key Worcestershire employers leading the way in Industry 4.0.
“At a time of increasing global competition for trade and investment, we are confident that we can act as a catalyst for technological innovation in the wider Midlands Engine and nationally. We welcome opportunities for collaboration with the UK’s most innovative minds.”
To find out more about Worcestershire’s 5G Testbed or to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org