DCMS blog

Preparing the UK for a 5G future

Clare Symonds

by

5G team, DCMS

5G has the potential to revolutionise the way we live, work and travel; from driverless cars to wearable health sensors; to better connecting us with friends and family. We are working hard to make sure that the UK is a world leader in 5G so that we can take early advantage of its potential and bring these benefits to people and businesses across the country.

What next?

While the bulk of investment in development and deployment will come from the private sector, the Government is taking an active role in helping to create the best conditions for 5G rollout. Our 5G strategy was published in March 2017 and set out the steps that we will take to do this.

We published an update to this in December 2017, which outlines our progress to date and details the next phase in preparing the UK for a 5G future through a range of actions, including:

 

  • Ensuring that spectrum is allocated in a way that supports our mobile ambitions;
  • Looking at the regulatory framework to make sure it supports investment in 5G infrastructure and services;
  • Our Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which will look at what, if anything, we need to do to encourage long term investment in world-class digital connectivity;
  • Setting up a cross-government barrier busting task force to address specific
    challenges in the deployment of telecoms infrastructure; and
  • Working with local government to make sites available for the deployment of
    infrastructure and to deliver the levels of connectivity that local areas need.

Working together

We are also working with Ofcom and industry to address current mobile connectivity challenges to ensure that there is good coverage where people live, work and travel. Consumers and businesses increasingly expect good mobile coverage across the UK, including on main rail routes and roads. Providing reliable digital connectivity across the UK is a foundation of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and will boost the nation’s productivity. By improving coverage now, we will also ensure that key rail routes, major roads and key hotspots are 5G-ready.

Trials and testbeds

Our 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme will play a big role in helping to develop the 5G ecosystem in the UK. This month we announced the winners of a £25 million competition to pave the way for a future rollout of 5G technology in the UK. From the Orkney Islands to the West of England, the six projects led by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and local authorities will test 5G across a range of applications including:

  • smart farming with drones
  • using the ‘internet of things’ to improve healthcare in the home
  • increasing manufacturing productivity
  • maximising the future benefits of self-driving cars

Breaking new ground

These projects are part of a £1 billion commitment through the Digital Strategy to keep Britain at the forefront of connectivity by accelerating the deployment of next generation digital infrastructure and driving forward new 5G business opportunities.

Watch out for more news about 5G testbeds and trials and for a variety of ways we as government will be supporting innovations in this exciting area.