A £40 million pot of cash has been set aside by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to ‘spark local digital revolutions and unlock 5G benefits across the UK.’
From today local and regional authorities can apply for a slice of the money pie – called, slightly awkwardly, 5G Innovation Regions – in order to do some clever things related to 5G in their areas.
Local authorities will need to demonstrate how they will drive the development and adoption of 5G and other technologies in some way shape or form. Suggestions on what these innovative ideas might include are listed as healthcare solutions, futuristic farming and smart systems to improve transport.
A couple of more specific suggestions of what these application might include are provided as connecting sensors that analyse and help to improve air quality by better managing traffic, and 5G-enabled drones that can scan fields and crops, collecting data on weather and environmental conditions.
“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,” said Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale.”
“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.”
Alongside this, the UK Telecoms Innovation Network is launching a campaign designed to bring together businesses who want to adopt 5G services with telecoms providers and vendors.
Nick Johnson, Head of UKTIN, said: “UKTIN will support the rollout of 5G Innovation Regions as part of our mission to build a thriving UK telecoms ecosystem. Our recently expanded remit now encompasses the Government’s adoption agenda, bringing this important work to the foreground of what we do. As such, driving demand and supporting key industrial sectors and places to adopt and deploy advanced wireless connectivity solutions including 5G are critical to delivering on our mission.
“We’re working with clusters of innovation and capability across the UK to understand the challenges, raise awareness and help make it easier to take advantage of telecoms services and solutions, both now and in future. What this means for 5G Innovation Regions is that we’ll be collaborating with the successful local and regional authorities to understand and disseminate their learnings to all regions and devolved nations, ensuring the whole of the UK has access to actionable insights.
“We’ll also be developing practical and pragmatic toolkits to support different locations and vertical sectors as they navigate the complexity of what, when and how to deploy solutions. It is only by creating demand and helping organisations navigate the technology adoption hurdles in this way that we can realise the true potential of new innovations.”
As we’ve noted previously, there is a regular stream of these government schemes and funding pots coming online, and while the specificity of what they are there to achieve is sometimes less than crystal clear, its certainly good news from an industry perspective to have money liberally sprinkled around in the pursuit of better telecoms.
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