Mar 23 2023
A Testbed in the heart of Midlands Engine will spearhead efforts to make the UK a world leader in 5G
The Government has today announced the Midlands winners of a £25 million competition to pave the way for a future roll-out of 5G technology in the UK.
The new project, the Worcestershire 5G Consortium, is receiving £4.8 million of government funding. In addition a further two of the project consortiums, receiving a total of over £6 million, also include partners based in the Midlands Engine.
The test beds will keep the Midlands Engine at the forefront of connectivity by accelerating the deployment of next generation digital infrastructure, driving forward new 5G business opportunities, and developing a home-grown 5G skills base.
5G will enable internet speeds to keep up with the explosion of smart devices in the home and the ‘internet of things’. With potential speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, it will also make it easier for people to rapidly download and upload ultra HD and 3D video.
This would revolutionise the way companies in the Midlands Engine do business and help them expand globally.
The news comes on the first anniversary of the Midlands Engine Strategy which sets out how the Midlands will deliver the Government’s Industrial Strategy, enabling businesses to create more jobs, increase skills levels, export more goods and services, and grow productivity.
Over the last 12 months the Midlands Engine has seen many successes, including:
Securing these testbed areas is another success for the Midlands, continuing to make the region a powerful engine for economic growth.
Sajid Javid, Housing Secretary and Ministerial Champion for the Midlands Engine, said:
One year on from the launch of the Midlands Engine Strategy, it’s clear that the region is at the forefront of innovation and growth. We have achieved a lot – from trade missions across the globe to millions of pounds of government investment in the region.
The announcement today of this ground-breaking project will build on this, helping to unlock the Midlands’ 5G future and ensure the benefits of this new technology are felt across the region.
Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine, said:
Placing the Midlands at the forefront of digital innovation is just one of the ways the Midlands Engine is aiming to create economic growth across the region. Through raising productivity and creating a stronger economy, we aim to achieve a fairer society through improving skills, improved access to housing and greater quality of life for all Midlanders.
Strengthening the Midlands Engine as a place to invest and supporting the efforts of Midlands businesses to trade and export also complements Government’s work to strengthen our country internationally.
Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and 5G lead for Midlands Engine, said:
We are delighted to have been successful in our bid which will help businesses deliver greater productivity using 5G technologies. This highlights the huge ambition of Worcestershire’s innovative public and private sector, with key Worcestershire employers leading the way in Industry 4.0.
At a time of increasing global competition for trade and investment, we are confident that we can act as a catalyst for technological innovation in the wider Midlands Engine and nationally. We welcome opportunities for collaboration with the UK’s most innovative minds.
Notes to Editors:
Worcestershire 5G Consortium – Testbed and Trials
Lead organisation: Worcestershire County Council
A team of 5G and Industry 4.0 experts lead this project – working with Worcestershire LEP, the consortium comprises: Worcestershire County Council, 5GIC at University of Surrey, AWTG, Huawei, O2, BT, & Malvern Hills Science Park. With local businesses Worcester Bosch, and Yamazaki Mazak it will focus on ways to increase industrial productivity through preventative and assisted maintenance using robotics, big data analytics and Augmented Reality over 5G.
It will also have a cyber security aspect, with QinetiQ providing assurances on the ‘security by design’ of 5G and IoT technology. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to test 5G capabilities in a new commercial tech accelerator located at the Malvern Hills Science Park.
5G Rural Integrated Testbed (5GRIT)
Lead organisation: Quickline Communications
5GRIT will be trialling innovative use of 5G technology across a range of rural applications, such as smart agriculture, tourism and connecting poorly-served communities, using shared spectrum in the TV bands and a mix of local ISPs and self-provision.
The aim is to ultimately make high quality connectivity available across Cumbria, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Inverness-shire, Perthshire and Monmouthshire where the consortium will develop 5G-ready AR apps for tourists and investigate how high-bandwidth wireless connectivity can increase food production in farming, including through use of AR and an unmanned aerial system.
Steve Jagger, Managing Director of Quickline Communications said:
“We feel that 5G can unlock the potential of rural areas through better connections for residents, businesses, farmers and visitors. Our consortium brings together innovative businesses and leading Universities to make the 5G dream a rural reality.”
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