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Government Names UK 5G Create Pilots for £30m Investment

Friday, Jul 31st, 2020 (1:41 pm) - Score 2,499
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At the start of this year the UK Government unveiled a £30m package to support an open competition (here), which aimed to look at how ultrafast 5G mobile (mobile broadband) could create “new opportunities in industries including film, TV, video games, logistics and tourism.” The winning projects have now been revealed.

All of this forms part of the wider £200m 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, which began in 2018 with a smaller selection of pilots but has since branched out. Under the latest 5G Create scheme several projects in Sunderland, Preston, Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton and Suffolk will now benefit from funding to test their ideas and technologies.

NOTE: The £30m package consists of £16.4m from the government, which is to be match-funded by businesses and local authorities etc.

The projects cover everything from AI-controlled traffic lights to exploring how BT Sport can harness 5G for watching live sports through virtual reality and helping to reduce the cost of the RAF’s future Tempest fighter jet (assuming that ever actually gets off the ground). You can see the full list below the quote.

Matt Warman, UK Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said:

“We are helping innovative thinkers across Britain use their creativity to harness the power of 5G and boost economic productivity, cut pollution and congestion, and develop the next generation of entertainment.

The new funding we are announcing today will help us pioneer new ways to seize the opportunities of 5G and bring tangible benefits for consumers and businesses across the country.”

One easily overlooked point concerns how this is the first time that the UK Government have involved Samsung as a 5G vendor in the programme, which Clive Dowden MP said is “an important step towards diversifying our 5G network” (i.e. more suppliers beyond Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson etc.).

A second round of new projects to receive funding through 5G Create will be announced in the autumn.

5G FoF (Factory of the Future):

Total project value: £9,517,019
DCMS funding: £4,793,162
Project location: North West

Project Summary:

BAE, Advanced Manufacturing Catapult and IBM will lead a large project in Preston that ultimately aims to deliver the Tempest fighter jet at half its current cost, and to drive UK global manufacturing competitiveness. The project aims to develop integrated solutions to some of the key challenges to deploying 5G technologies in manufacturing, using 5G to test use cases such as robotic assembly, reconfigurable product assembly lines and distributed and shared VR/AR. The programme will establish a primary site at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West and secondary sites in BAE Systems Warton and AMRC Sheffield.

5G Festival:

Total project value: £3,438,497
DCMS funding: £2,238,692
Project location: South East

Project Summary:

The ‘5G Festival’ (5GF) project will demonstrate how 5G can enable the empowerment of the music industry to bring live festivals and music events to audiences no matter where they are in the world. Using a cutting edge, immersive platform that leverages high bandwidth and ultra-low latency 5G technology, audiences and artists will connect seamlessly across continents, driving new experiences from the home as well as major venues such as the Brighton Dome and the 02 Arena, using most advanced 5G facilities by Digital Catapult and Telefonica. For example a music fan in Edinburgh could experience their favorite artist live in LA, collaborating with another artist in London, all without having to leave their front room.

Smart Junctions 5G:

Total project value: £2,336,392
DCMS funding: £1,160,778
Project location: North West

Project Summary:

Visionable, Weaver Labs (both UK SMEs) and Transport for Greater Manchester aim to deliver AI traffic control systems to reduce congestion and pollution as well as improving productivity by cutting waiting times at traffic signals. The project aims to use a 5G small cell networks to decrease infrastructure costs for the connection of sensors at every junction, removing the need to mount hardware onto buildings in district centre locations as well as supporting connected bus projects and other mobility based public services. This project fosters innovation in the telecoms using open architectures and a new network deployment approach that allows for new domestic SMEs to contribute.

5G Edge-XR

Total project value: £2,558,494
DCMS funding: £1,486,004
Project location: East Anglia

Project Summary:

BT’s Media and Research teams are working with TheGridFactory, Condense Reality, Dance East, Bristol University and Salsa Sound. Among the work to be developed are virtual and augmented reality experiences to complement BT Sport’s services. 5G Edge-XR will for example demonstrate how 5G networks, coupled with cloud graphics processing units, could enable people to view immersive sporting events from all angles across a broader range of devices including smartphones, tablets, AR and VR headsets and TVs. It will also help realise the vision and potential of 5G networks to create new opportunities for UK businesses at home and internationally, and encourage inward investment.

Liverpool 5G create

Total project value: £7,146,261
DCMS funding: £4,302,596
Project location: North West

Project Summary:

A group of local healthcare bodies, the University of Liverpool, BluWireless (a UK 5G kit vendor) Broadway Partners (a small UK mobile operator) will build a 5G network designed to benefit local NHS, social care services and other public bodies in a post-Covid-19 world. It will use private 5G networks to develop affordable connectivity for remote health and social care, improving future resilience and reducing inequalities that arise from lack of affordable access. This builds on the existing 5GTT funded project in Liverpool and develops the commercial business case for and testing new applications in the health and social care sector. The project will stimulate the development of low-cost 5G technology as well as improving future pandemic resilience and reducing inequalities.


Total project value: £4,851,780
DCMS funding: £2,422,370
Project location: North East

Project Summary:

5G CAL will deliver a huge stride forward in Connected and Automated Logistics (CAL), taking 5G enabled solutions out of the testbed into an operational manufacturing environment. Nissan, Sunderland Council, the North East Motor Manufacturers Group and Three will deliver 5G-connected, autonomous 40-tonne trucks to distribute parts and assemblies across the Nissan plant, linking to many local SMEs in their supply chain. As with 5G FoF, this is about driving operational efficiencies and improving productivity. Their vision is to develop a globally unique centre of excellence and operational test facility for CAL at the Nissan Sunderland site.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Salena Radford says:

    [admin note: comment removed for spreading a vile conspiracy theory]

    1. Avatar photo Marcus says:

      How can something be untested and *known* to be highly lethal? Also what nonsense is this? It’s tested on a massive scale, even to satisfy your nonsense.

      Also curious, who will hold people accountable if all life is dead?

    2. Avatar photo Lance says:

      In the pilot I am involved with were testing to make the equipment legal.

      This includes propagation of radio waves through different types of clutter including glass, steel, bin bags of dead starlings and wood.

      We are also conducting mutation tests of rodents which will be housed point blank to the antenna and conducting an assessment of infant mortality. Success looks like single digit rise during the hours of Call of Duty and when the misses goes to bed.

  2. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

    I’d love to know how using 5g can make a fighter plane project deliver for half the cost! Bit of a stretch! Probably a government quango involvement I suspect.

    Though kudos for convincing them it was worth throwing over £5.5M of free money at it.

  3. Avatar photo Michael V says:

    I think it’s exciting, trying out new projects with 5G-NR, Wether they continue long term or not. But then we are talking a lot of money!

    On subject of traffic lights, O2 have already connected hundreds of them in the South East of England using LTE-M, part of their IoT project. That’s actually putting the technology to good use.

  4. Avatar photo Sam Skellern says:

    Nothing that 4g, wifi and a good old ethernet cable (Remember them?) Can do!

Comments are closed

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