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Scottish Government Invests £4m to Boost Interest in 5G Mobile

Thursday, September 17th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 700
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The Scottish Government (SG) has today announced a new funding package of £4 million, which will be used to establish a new “national network of hubs” – S5GConnect Hubs – to help accelerate the adoption of ultrafast 5G based mobile (mobile broadband) technology across Scotland.

However, this doesn’t reflect some new approach to computer networking, but rather new sites that the SG will use to promote innovation and investment, focussing on sectors relevant to their local areas. The Hubs will work with mobile operators and private network providers to accelerate regional 5G networks, offer a private network with advanced capabilities, as well as access to an accelerator facility and mentoring schemes.

The hubs will also provide specific support packages for small businesses, such as to support SME engagement where they can develop, prototype and test real-world experiments and use cases over a 5G innovation platform. SMEs will also be able to benefit from a one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale businesses.

Scotland’s Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said:

“The 5G revolution presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, and seizing such opportunities is particularly important as we look to build the economic recovery following the lockdown required to suppress the COVID-19 virus. A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that harnessing enhanced 4G and 5G connectivity could increase Scotland’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.

The Scottish Government’s investment of £4m through the S5GConnect programme will enhance and widen digital connectivity in all parts of the country because we believe that it is through deploying next-generation technologies that we can create something special for businesses, families and communities.

The Forth Valley Hub, as the first of ten such hubs, will initially focus on the delivery of digital platforms that support job creation, skills programmes, and innovation support for SME and R&D activities. Its first project will aim to develop a green data recovery platform, which will support Scotland’s net zero economy.

Potential locations for nine additional hubs across Scotland are being considered with plans for further rollout over the course of 2020 and 2021.”

The first hub will be located in Alloa (Clackmannanshire) and serve the wider Forth Valley region, where it will build on a partnership between Scotland’s International Environment Centre, which is part of the University of Stirling and BT.

All of this will be supported by the the Scotland 5G Centre, which was setup in October 2019 to help accelerate the deployment and adoption of 5G and to realise its “economic and societal potential” (this reflects a partnership between the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow, the Scottish Futures Trust and investment from the SG).

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