The Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult in the UK has been awarded £4m from Innovate UK to help deliver a resilient and energy efficient future telecoms network for the UK.
The funding coincides with the launch of the Catapult’s new Future Telecoms Hub at the Bristol and Bath Science Park and will help develop new compound semiconductor technologies to improve the speed, energy efficiency and security of communications networks.
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Funded through an initial £2.5m investment by Innovate UK, the Future Telecoms Hub combines equipment with expertise to test and develop new telecoms hardware made using compound semiconductors. A priority of the Future Telecoms Hub will be to improve the performance of power amplifiers that can account for up to 80% of the power consumed.
As base stations themselves account for over 70% of power consumption across the whole telecoms network, there is a sizeable opportunity to drastically increase energy efficiency by improving just a single device.
CSA Catapult analysis also shows that RF power amplifiers present one of the biggest market opportunities across the network, with the global market set to grow to $9 billion by 2025.
The Future Telecoms Hub will complement CSA Catapult’s existing operations at its headquarters in Newport, South Wales by providing closer access to Bristol and the South West that includes several major technology companies and research institutions. The Future Telecoms Hub will also strengthen CSA Catapult’s connection with the Western Gateway and will host collaborative research projects with the University of Bristol.
“Bristol has an established network of innovative companies and research institutions located within and around the city, as well as strong links with partners across the Western Gateway, so it was a natural fit for us to place our future telecoms capability here,” said Martin McHugh, Chief Executive Officer at CSA Catapult.
“With the widespread adoption of 5G and our increasing dependence on connected technologies, the demand for safe, secure and reliable telecoms infrastructure has never been greater. The Future Telecoms Hub will enable our partners to bring new telecoms technologies to market and allow us to continue to build supply chains, increase investment in R&D and grow the UK economy.”