Government to select urban test-bed for 5G tech

It will test how the technology can make urban communities more safe, sustainable and efficient

By Jonny Bairstow

The UK Government is to select a city to serve as a test-bed for developing wireless 5G infrastructure.

As part of the Urban Connected Communities Project, it will test how the technology can make urban communities more safe, sustainable and efficient.

The scheme will enhance connectivity for residents and businesses and target specific pinch-points of poor signal.

It will study how 5G can be used across multiple sectors including public services, industry, transport, healthcare, media and entertainment.

The government is providing around £200 million for the initiative as part of a more than £1 billion investment in next-generation digital infrastructure.

Digital Minister Margot James said: “Trialling 5G at scale across an entire city is a chance to prove the economic benefits predicted from this new technology, test different methods of deployment and boost the connectivity of ordinary people working and living there.”

The government expects to select the host city this summer and is now inviting local authorities to bid in a competitive tender.

A recent report suggests upgrading the UK’s cities with 5G technologies could save £6 billion a yearby making them smarter and more interconnected.