UK government unveils £40m funding for 5G innovation


From today, local and regional authorities can apply for a share of the funding 

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has today announced £40 million in funding to turn local and regional authorities into ‘5G Innovation Regions’. 

Funding will be awarded to winning regions that can successfully demonstrate how they will drive the adoption and development of 5G and other wireless technologies across varying sectors, including public services, agriculture, transport and advanced manufacturing.  

For example, one region’s application involves using 5G-enabled drones to scan fields, allowing farmers to make data driven agricultural decisions for increased efficiency. 

Successful applicants will be designated ‘5G innovation regions’, with DSIT hoping the leveraging of 5G and other wireless technologies will promote economic growth at local levels, opening up new commercial opportunities for the regions. 

“Greater adoption of 5G-powered technologies will help deliver more efficient public services, new opportunities for residents and businesses, and a boost for economic growth – and this new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution,” said Sir John Whittingale, Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure. 

The UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) will be collaborating with winning applicants to increase the speed with which 5G is adopted in key sectors, as well as launching a campaign to bring together telecoms providers with businesses who want to adopt 5G services. The campaign will aim to help educate firms on how they will benefit from 5G enabled services and how they can access it.  

“What this means for 5G Innovation Regions is that we’ll be collaborating with the successful local and regional authorities to understand and disseminate their learnings to all regions and devolved nations, ensuring the whole of the UK has access to actionable insights. We’ll also be developing practical and pragmatic toolkits to support different locations and vertical sectors as they navigate the complexity of what, when and how to deploy solutions,” said Nick Johnson, head of UKITN. 

“It is only by creating demand and helping organisations navigate the technology adoption hurdles in this way that we can realise the true potential of new innovations.” 

The 5G Innovation Regions programme will run until March 2025, with winning bidders expected to be announced later this year. 

Join the conversation around the acceleration of the UK’s 5G infrastructure at this year’s Connected Britain conference 

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