Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan launches £30m rural 5G competition

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan has launched a £30 million UK-wide competition to spark a tech revolution in countryside communities and help rural Britain seize the opportunities of 5G technology.

Up to ten rural locations will be chosen to run innovative trials of 5G applications and stimulate commercial investment in 5G technology which offers mobile speeds 10 to 20 times faster than previous generations.

The Rural Connected Communities competition is the latest wave of £200 million funding to pioneer 5G testbeds across the country and deliver the benefits of the highest speeds of mobile connectivity available.

The new funding will build on projects like these and trial other uses of 5G in rural communities to help drive business growth, enhance lives and encourage innovation.

Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “The British countryside has always been a hotbed of pioneering industries and we’re making sure our rural communities aren’t left behind in the digital age.”

Phil Sorsky, vice president, International at CommScope commented “We’re currently in the cautious early adoption stage of 5G, and some consumers in the UK have already received a first taste of the tech in specific geographic locations, using certain applications, none of which are ubiquitous or cost-optimised. As such, it is positive to see the Government investing in the commercial applications of 5G in rural areas, as the technology means so much more than just quicker download speeds for consumers in major cities.”

“Connected devices are talking to each other and making decisions without human intervention. As machines become smarter with more data, factories are producing more and becoming more efficient; this process will only be accelerated by the 5G roll-out, boosting the productivity and output of the UK economy and bringing huge benefit to every corner of the country.”

“5G will also begin to enable the wider use of virtual and augmented reality in the manufacturing industry, for example assisting workers with complex assembly tasks and quality control, through lower latency and greater consistency, or assisting utilities workers in remote areas to find a hidden duct or manhole and so making faster repairs. It is crucial that rural areas also have access to this technology, enabling innovation across a wide range of industries.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine