British government pumps £16m into 5G research

The UK government has pumped £16 million into 5G research to help ensure Britain is at the forefront of mobile technology.

By 2030, 5G is expected to inject up to £173 billion into the economy. In comparison, the £16 million investment announced today sounds like a bargain for the potential return.

Andrew Jones MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, added: “Ensuring Britain remains at the forefront of digital innovation is a priority for this government.

“We are investing £740 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund to boost the country’s digital infrastructure, and today’s announcement will help provide people and businesses with the next generation of connections.

The research will be conducted by experts at King’s College London, and the Universities of Surrey and Bristol. The plan is to develop a cutting-edge 5G test network with the aim of ensuring businesses and people can enjoy the benefits commercially sooner.

Professor Andrew Nix, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Head of the Communication Systems & Networks group commented: "As part of the University of Bristol's Smart Internet Lab we've been developing some amazing 5G technologies.

For example, we hold the world record for spectral efficiency with our 5G Massive MIMO base station. We're also a world leader in the use of millimeter spectrum and software defined networking. Working with our industrial and academic partners, we aim to show off some of the incredible new services made possible by 5G networks."

The speed, coverage, and reliability of 5G will enable new uses for mobile technology including for other recent advancements such as virtual reality and self-driving vehicles. It will also play a large part in enabling the IoT (Internet of Things) to flourish as record numbers of devices and sensors are brought online.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, said: “We want to be at the head of the field in 5G. This funding will support the pioneering research needed to ensure we can harness the potential of this technology to spark innovation, create new jobs and boost the economy.

“We know 5G has the potential to bring more reliable, ultra-fast mobile connectivity, with quicker reaction times and larger data capabilities, and I’m thrilled to announce King’s College London and the universities of Surrey and Bristol have agreed to collaborate on this project.”

Countries at the forefront of 5G are sure to reap significant economic benefits, and the British government plans to ensure the country is among them. This investment aims to deliver a 5G end-to-end trial in early 2018.

What are our thoughts about the 5G research investment? Let us know in the comments.

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