Businesses can apply for a grant to develop and test 5G services

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced it has up to £25 million to invest in projects, to support the development of the UK’s infrastructure.

The government is inviting interested companies from around the UK to take part in the “5G Testbeds and Trials” competition, and propose new 5G projects, with match funded grants worth up to £5 million each available for each successful application.

The DCMS funding is part of the government’s overall £740 million National Productivity Investment Fund for digital infrastructure.

In post-Brexit Britain, the government also hopes 5G technology will enhance the UK’s competitiveness on the global stage, according to minister for digital Matt Hancock.

“We must be at the cutting edge of the new technology and we are determined to be one of the first countries in the world to use 5G.

In these very early stages, we want all ideas from all parts of the country that will help us get the technology and the roll-out right to have a nationwide network of 5G innovators,” he said.

5G is the next generation of wireless broadband technology and could offer users connection speeds of up to 100MB or more.

Mobiles contribution to the global economy will be $3.9 trillion by 2020 according to analysis by the GSMA. Based on their analysis, the impact of mobile on UK GDP will be £112 billion in 2020, rising to somewhere between £164-198 billion per annum by 2030.

Andrew Jones, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “Improving productivity requires targeted and sustained investment, which is why we are backing the UK’s digital infrastructure with over £1bn of government funding.

Whether we are doing business online or the weekly grocery shop online, strong and reliable connections are crucial.” Mr Jones also said that the announcement is a big step forward in bringing 5G to the UK and ensuring our digital infrastructure is fit for the future.

What do businesses need to do? At least one of the following:

  • Explore the potential for 5G to deliver benefits for business
  • Develop new 5G applications and services
  • Develop and explore new business models around key 5G technologies
  • Reduce commercial risks associated with investment in 5G

The competition opens on 23rd October 2017 and closes on 6th December 2017.

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