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UK selects 10 regions to invest £36m in 5G innovation

Written by Tue 21 Nov 2023

The UK Government has announced the ten local authorities set to receive a share of £36 million ($45 million) to become 5G Innovation Regions.

The funding will improve the development and adoption of 5G and other advanced wireless technologies.

Communities in towns, cities, and rural areas are expected to take full advantage of the benefits of advanced wireless and digital technologies to attract commercial investment and grow the economy.

“This is more than just linking smartphones. It is about using powerful digital connections to transform various sectors in the economy and the public sector throughout the entire country,” said John Whittingdale, Minister of Data and Digital Infrastructure.

Of those selected, North Ayrshire Council, West Midlands Combined Authority, and Oxfordshire County Council will be given £3.8 million ($4.7 million).

North Ayrshire Council will use the funds for New Regional Strategic Wireless Innovation Hubs. These hubs aim to position Ayrshire as a leader in advanced manufacturing by expediting the integration of digital and wireless technologies.

West Midlands Combined Authority will scale 5G applications in advanced manufacturing and smart communities through new adoption hubs.

Oxfordshire County Council will create 5G Science Parks at the Harwell campus in Oxfordshire, supporting research and development in quantum, space, health, and energy clusters.

Belfast City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Sussex County Council, Cumberland Council, Shropshire Council, Sunderland City Council, and Glasgow City Council will also be allocated portions of the funding.

“Scotland has a history of being at the forefront of innovation and technology and this funding will make sure this remains the case. All the areas will use this technology to help people’s lives,” said John Lamont, UK Government Minister for Scotland.

UK Announces 5G Adoption Programme

The UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) will also run a nationwide programme to accelerate the adoption of 5G in key economic sectors, including manufacturing, health and social care, transport and logistics, and agricultural technology. 

UKTIN will collaborate closely with the 5G Innovation Regions, including through place-based working groups. This collaboration aims to assist businesses and locations throughout the UK in benefiting from access to 5G technology.

“We will collaborate with successful regions to overcome adoption hurdles and deliver best practice and insights to communities across the country, so that all regions and nations can benefit from the lessons being learned through both 5G Innovation Regions and other relevant initiatives,” said Nick Johnson, Head of UKTIN.

The Government’s goal is to provide faster, more reliable and secure connectivity for residents and businesses. This is expected to boost local economies and improve the delivery of public services.

“We look forward to working with the winning regions in demonstrating the significant potential of 5G technologies to revamp and modernise public services across the country,” said Hamish MacLeod, Chief Executive of Mobile UK.

The Government launched the £40 million ($50 million) fund for local and regional authorities in July. The announcement aligned with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s goal to level up communities in the UK, grow the economy, and create better paid jobs through improved and secure digital infrastructure.

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Written by Tue 21 Nov 2023

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