£40m UK fund for 5G Innovation Regions

£40m UK fund for 5G Innovation Regions

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The UK government has launched a £40m fund to create Innovation Regions using 5G technology.

Local and regional authorities can apply for a share of the fund, designed to accelerate the use of 5G in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, transport, agriculture and public services.

The cash will be used to demonstrate how the areas can drive the development and adoption of wireless technologies. This could include connecting sensors that analyse and help to improve air quality by better managing traffic, and deploying 5G-enabled drones that can scan fields and crops, collecting data on weather and environmental conditions.

It is also putting together a similar fund, potentially worth £160m, to do the same for 5G and broadband satellite technologies using satellites in low earth orbit such as the OneWeb constellation.

To further accelerate the adoption in key sectors ranging from transport to manufacturing, the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) will also launch a nationwide campaign. Working alongside the Innovation Regions, the campaign will bring together businesses who want to adopt services with telecoms providers and equipment supplier. Research shows widespread adoption  could result in productivity benefits of £159 billion by 2035.

Applications will close on 10th September 2023, and winning bidders will be announced later this year, with the projects running until March 2025.

“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,” said Sir John Whittingdale, Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure.

This was part of the UK government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy that sets out how advanced wireless connectivity will underpin new and emerging innovative technologies, ranging from Artificial Intelligence to self-driving vehicles, and digital twins.

“Driving adoption of 5G is key to releasing the full benefits of this technology, and the government’s new £40 million fund to support Innovation Regions is an important step,” said Hamish MacLeod, Chief Executive of Mobile UK.


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