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Government Offers £1m to Help UK Businesses Harness 5G Mobile

Monday, March 18th, 2019 (11:45 am) - Score 811
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The Government’s Innovate UK programme, which is being supported by CELTIC-NEXT, has today announced that it’s making £1 million available to help businesses looking to partner with international companies on 5G mobile Research and Development (R&D) projects.

The next generation of multi-Gigabit speed capable Mobile Broadband technology is due to start its limited commercial roll-out later this year, although large-scale deployments won’t begin until 2020 because operators (e.g. Three UK, Vodafone, O2 and EE) still have to wait until Ofcom has auctioned and then released more of the necessary radio spectrum.

The Government notes in today’s announcement that 90% of UK households have access to the internet, yet 2.7 million homes remain unconnected. However they also say that Smartphones, which are the “most widely-used means of accessing the internet“, could provide the solution, “connecting the entire country through the fifth generation wireless (5G) network.

NOTE: At present Ofcom’s proposed coverage obligations do not require true universal 5G coverage (here), although they are getting closer.

Criteria for the £1m Funding Pot

Projects must follow one of the following themes:

* innovative 5G infrastructure technologies that make use of artificial intelligence (AI) in network operation or multi-access edge computing – cloud-based services on the perimeter of networks.

* applications that use 5G networks for new or improved user experiences, including features in satellite networks or services integrating satellites.

Within this, projects must focus on one or more:

* AI in network operation

* multi-access edge computing

* Internet of Things

* tactile internet

* mission-critical applications

* infotainment – material intended to both entertain and inform – mobile services such as advanced media streaming

* immersive content in industrial environments

Projects can have total eligible costs between £400,000 and £2 million, and organisations are advised to aim for grants around £500,000. Projects must start between October and December 2019 and last between 12 to 24 months.

The funding competition will open on 1st April 2019 and the closing date is at midday on 29th May 2019. Apparently UK-based organisations of any size are eligible to apply, but they must partner with at least one UK-based micro or small or medium-sized enterprise, and the project must involve at least one organisation from a EUREKA country. Further details here.

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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.
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