5G Testbeds and Trials Programme – progress made and future plans

5G Testbeds and Trials Programme – progress made and future plans

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport this week published an update to its 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (5GTT) looking at progress made and future plans and activities planned for the upcoming year.

The 5GTT, a key part of the Government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, coordinates pilots and trials so as to determine where challenges and issues might lie for 5G deployment, stimulate demand for services to help the case for commercial investment, and help inform future policy. It receives funding of £200 million with a further £35 million allocated for joint rail projects with the Local Full Fibre Networks Programme (LFFN).

* 5GUK Test Networks – the world’s first end-to-end 5G network was completed in March 2018 and the test network is now being used to trial further 5G applications and technologies.
* Phase 1 Projects – six bids from across the UK were selected by the Government in March 2018 winning the £25 million competition looking for exciting and interesting use cases for the initial phase of the 5GTT.
* UK5G Innovation Network – also launched in the Spring, UK5G is there to promote research, collaboration and commercializing 5G in the UK through facilitating and encouraging organisations working in 5G to engage and collaborate.
* Roads – A feasibility study looking at demand for 5G on the road is ongoing and set to be completed December 2019.
* Rail – Plans to work with the LFFN on the Transpenine Route Upgrade to trial 5G track-to-train connectivity along the route and upgrade Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre at Melton Mowbray to allow for 5G technologies to be tested.
* Security – £10 million provided to test the security of 5G networks, working with the National Cyber Security Center.

Further 5GTT Projects include:

* Urban Connected Communities Project – creating a large scale 5G testbed in an urban area, working with the West Midlands Combined Authority and private sector organisations. £50m is available for the project which is designed so that developing technologies can be harnessed to deliver both public and commercial services.
* Rural Connected Communities Project – will look into how commercial models and technical solutions can be used to improve coverage and explore how neutral host models can improve the investment incentives – this competition will run in the New Year.
* Sector Testbeds and Trials Projects – over Autumn 2018, considering primarily vertical industry sector focused projects – partnering with telecoms operators, public sector, and academic and research organisations.
* Additional Future Projects – looking at additional options which might include smaller scale funding over a wider range of activities.