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UK Government Goes Hunting for the First 5G Mobile City

Friday, March 30th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 1,229
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The UK government has today proposed to develop a “large-scale, citywide testbed” as part of a multi million pound “5G city” trial of the future high speed Mobile technology, which forms part of their Urban Connected Communities Project.

The testbed will include testing how new technology can make urban communities “inherently safer, greener, more efficient and more attractive places to live“. It is expected the winning bid will be trialling a variety of initiatives, which could include:

– Doctors and other health care professionals using real-time video consultation and remote treatment for those less able to travel.

– Making traffic jams and disjointed journeys a thing of the past through widespread use of sensors and real-time monitoring and management of traffic and public transport.

– Revolutionising the way visitors experience tourist venues through the use of Augmented and Virtual reality technologies.

Funding for the project will come from the £200 million assigned so far to develop 5G technologies as part of over £1bn investment in next-generation digital infrastructure (inc. “full fibre” broadband), including through the £31bn National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

Minister for Digital, Margot James, said:

“This is a huge opportunity for an urban area to become the flagship of our ambitious programme to make Britain fit for the future and a world leader in 5G.

Trialling 5G at scale across an entire city is a chance to prove the economic benefits predicted from this new technology, test different methods of deployment and boost the connectivity of ordinary people working and living there.”

The government is now seeking expressions of interest (open until 5th June) from local or combined authorities with a coverage area in the region of 500,000 people to be the public sector partner and lead the delivery of the project. Interest from large cities below 500,000 population will also be considered.

As well as enhancing connectivity for residents and businesses the urban testbed will trial 5G applications across various other sectors including public services, industry, transport, healthcare, media and entertainment, and allow different deployment models to be explored.

The project will specifically target ‘pinch-points’ of poor connectivity in cities, including areas of high demand such as mainline stations or city centres where heavy usage rather than a lack of signal leads to not-spots.

Following a competitive process, the government expects to select a location in summer 2018. The urban project will be followed in the summer by a large-scale Rural Connected Communities Project. Local authorities and industry will both have the opportunity to participate in workshops for the project commencing from the end of April 2018 and running until June 2018.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Archie

    Give Leicestershire a chance!

  2. Avatar Rich

    The most hunting they will do for the city will be to walk 20 steps outside Parliament and go “here will do”. For rural it will be somewhere like Berkshire, Surrey or Kent.

  3. Avatar ASH

    It will be in London, They get everything first.

  4. Avatar MikeW

    I’ll hope for Leeds, but my best guesses go to either Bristol or Manchester.

  5. Avatar Davek

    I think Leeds and Bristol. That’s the whole of the north and the southwest covered then!

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