Today [31 July], the UK government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has announced a new £40m fund, to which local and regional authorities can apply to fund projects aiming to drive development through use of 5G technology.
DSIT hopes the money will stimulate the creation of ‘5G Innovation Regions’ to ensure towns and communities across the UK are taking full advantage of 5G and related connected technologies, especially in areas such as transport and public services.
More secure and reliable digital connectivity could be a key enabler of intelligent transport systems across the country.
Other key use cases enabled by the fund could include sensors that analyse and work to improve air quality through enhanced traffic management or deploying 5G-enabled drones to scan fields and crops and gather data on environmental conditions.
This, in turn, is intended to improve wireless and digital connectivity and fit within the government’s broader growth agenda.
According to DSIT, research shows widespread adoption of 5G could result in productivity benefits of £159bn by 2035.
Sir John Whittingdale, minister for data and digital infrastructure, said: “Greater adoption of 5G-powered technologies will help deliver more efficient public services, new opportunities for residents and businesses, and a boost for economic growth – and this new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.
“5G Innovation Regions will be uniquely positioned to benefit from breaking down barriers which hinder the rollout of such technologies at a local level and this initiative offers every community the chance to gain these opportunities.
“Improving connectivity through a world-class digital infrastructure is one of the core components of the government’s plans to level up every community in the UK and I encourage local areas to apply and to be ambitious in their vision for reaping the rewards of 5G.”
The UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) also plans to launch a nationwide campaign that will see it work alongside the 5G Innovation Regions to bring together businesses who want to adopt 5G technologies with telecoms providers and vendors to help them better understand and use the technology.
The fund will run until March 2025 and applications will close this September.