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UK announces £65m investment in rural 5G trials

Written by Thu 20 Feb 2020

Government announces fresh testbeds to bring 5G to more people and places

Rural areas will be the focus of a series of Government trials of 5G technology, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced.

Named as the winners of the Rural Connected Communities competition, nine projects across the UK will receive a share of £35 million from the Government as part of plans to find new ways to spread technology like 5G to all areas of the country.

Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and air and sea search and rescue services in Dorset are among the projects to be awarded funding.

Trials in Yorkshire, Gwent, Monmouthshire, Orkney, Wiltshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire have also been confirmed.

The Government also announced the launch of a new £30 million open competition – named 5G Create – which is looking for new opportunities for 5G in film, TV, video games, logistics and tourism.

5G Create will open in early March and accept entries until the end of June.

The schemes are part of a £200 million Government investment in trials and testbeds across the UK around the use of 5G.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’re determined to make the UK a world-leader in 5G and deliver on our promise to improve connections for people and businesses across the country.

“Today we’re announcing new funding to seize the new opportunities this technology will offer us.

“This includes seeing how it could create new jobs in the countryside, make businesses more productive and unleash even more ideas in our cutting-edge creative industries.”

The Government said no “high-risk” vendors would form part of any of the equipment in the winning projects or future ones to be funded as part of 5G Create, in reference to concerns around Chinese firm Huawei, which is a leading manufacturer of 5G equipment but remains the subject of security concerns.

Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, where one of the trials will take place, said: “This project will be front and centre of retelling the story of Robin Hood to future generations.

“It will be situated in the ancient royal forest of Sherwood, which has been wooded since the end of the last Glacial Period. There is no better opportunity to trial 5G in a forest setting anywhere else in the UK – not just for the area’s geography, but for its rich and fascinating history.

“I see this project as the start of a journey that will truly see Nottinghamshire on the regional, national and international tourism and environment management maps; as well as providing us with the opportunity to build the digital skills and opportunities of our residents and businesses.”

Written by Thu 20 Feb 2020


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