Rural communities get £30m 5G boost

The government has today launched a £30m UK-wide competition to stimulate innovation in 5G technology within rural communities. Up to ten locations will be chosen to run trials of 5G applications and stimulate commercial investment in 5G technology, which offers mobile speeds 10 to 20 times faster than previous generations.

The Rural Connected Communities initiative is the latest wave of £200m funding. Digital secretary Nicky Morgan says this investment will help ensure rural communities are not left behind in the digital age.

“We’re investing millions so the whole country can grasp the opportunities and economic benefits of next generation 5G technology.

“In modern Britain people expect to be connected wherever they are. And so we’re committed to securing widespread mobile coverage and must make sure we have the right planning laws to give the UK the best infrastructure to stay ahead,” she said.

Early 5G services have begun to be launched in major towns and cities around the world though it is still early days for the before widespread deployment of 5G can be realised.

Commenting on developments, Julian David, CEO, techUK said: “5G is an essential component of the UK’s digital fabric. It underpins innovative technologies from drones to AI. techUK welcomes this initiative and sees this government has long recognised the benefits offered by 5G to businesses and consumers, making considerable investment already in 5G testbeds and trials, including 5G RuralFirst, led by techUK member Cisco.”

For more in-depth analysis of the risks and opportunities of 5G, read Martin Allen-Smith's feature With great power..., which explores how some of the weighty benefits could be counterbalanced by some potentially considerable pitfalls.

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