Scotland presses on with 5G plans

Dumfries picked as site for first rural hub

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Scotland’s first rural 5G connectivity hub will be established on The Crichton campus in Dumfries.

The new hub will bring together technological expertise, academic research and local businesses to drive innovation and accelerate the uptake of 5G in the south of Scotland. Part of the £4m Scottish Government-funded S5GConnect programme to establish a network of 5G innovation hubs across the country, the Dumfries hub will be equipped with a dedicated 5G network with advanced capabilities including a testbed that will allow businesses to try out products.

A dedicated team has been recruited for the S5GConnect hub to work with local partners and businesses.

Some of the projects planned for the site include the development agritech solutions, where sensors and drones are used to measure things like crop growth, animal behaviour and wellness, and remote healthcare initiatives such as the use of 5G technology to support assisted living.

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The S5GConnect programme, which is run by The Scotland 5G Centre, is intended as a catalyst to increase awareness of 5G and lead to the development of new products, services and applications. This will be the third S5GConnect hub to be set up, following the establishment of 5G hubs in Forth Valley and Dundee. 

Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “Our S5GConnect programme will equip businesses and entrepreneurs across Dumfries and Galloway with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business.  It is planned over three levels: kicking off with raising awareness of the scope of 5G, followed by more detailed evaluation of the business possibilities [and] culminating in months of in-depth support to scale up and test using our dedicated 5G private network.”

Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of The Crichton Trust, said: “This is a hugely exciting project which will have a significant impact on the south of Scotland. We believe that 5G connectivity will enable our rural communities to experience the power of fast connectivity and the opportunities this brings for innovation and the future economy, helping to generate the solutions and services we require to meet the challenges of our ageing society, the climate crisis and the fourth industrial revolution, solutions that start in Dumfries but can scale and be replicated into our neighbouring rural and urban areas and exported across the world.”

Sam Trendall

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