Government issues more funding for 5G test projects

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A further nine projects have received public funding from the £200 million 5G testbeds and trials initiative as the government steps up its efforts to see how next-generation technology can boost the economy following Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

As much as £15.2 million has been handed out to ‘5G Create’ projects spanning the creative, tourism, events, construction, and logistics industries with the remaining £13.1 million stumped up by the private sector.

While each individual project will seek to establish use cases for 5G in their respective industries, more than half of will use Open RAN technology. The government is hopeful that Open RAN will provide diversification and innovation to the supply chain for UK operators and compensate for the ban of Huawei 5G equipment.

5G research

“5G is about so much more than faster mobile internet speeds so we’re investing millions to help some of Britain’s brightest innovators explore the huge potential of the technology to improve and enrich our lives,” declared Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman.

“The projects we’ve selected will demonstrate how the blistering speeds of 5G can put some rocket fuel in our economy and help businesses bounce back from the pandemic.”

The headline project is a 5G-enabled Augmented Reality (AR) application that will accompany the upcoming BBC television series ‘The Green Planet’. Users will be able to view holographic videos of Sir David Attenborough as he discusses exotic plants and animals. The project, led by EE, will raise awareness for the general public and provide a valuable case study for the creative industries.

Behind the scenes, Leeds-based television production company Candour TV will use 5G to see how it can transmit live content and transfer huge video files from any location. This could transform the process of content creation and see 5G become a standard method for the industry.

The Eden Project in Cornwall and the Isle of Wight will use 5G to see how the technology can aid tourism, while the ports of Bristol and Felixstowe will look to deliver a boost to ‘Global Britain’. Finally, construction projects in Scotland will use 5G-enabled cameras, drones and sensors.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.