Minister reveals £150m package to support research and uptake
The government has set a target for everyone in the UK to have access to full 5G connectivity by the end of this decade.
The newly published UK Wireless Infrastructure Strategy reveals that government’s intends for all populated areas of the country to be connected to so-called standalone 5G by 2030. Also known as 5G-plus, this refers to connectivity delivered from underlying network infrastructure constructed especially for 5G – rather than next-generation services provided from a 4G network.
The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology claimed that 77% of UK citizens currently have access to this “basic 5G”.
To help expand this figure and improve the quality of connectivity on offer, the government announced a funding package of up to £150m, about two thirds of which will be made available to support research into 5G. Additionally, £40m is to be provided to “to boost 5G tech take-up” among businesses and public bodies, while £8m will be invested in using satellite technology to help connect about 35,000 remote homes and workplaces.
Outside of this, upgrades to the UK’s mobile connectivity infrastructure will be funded and delivered by the network operators themselves – who must also ensure that any and all Huawei technology is removed from the “high data-rate transmission equipment” elements of their network by the end of 2025. Any remaining Huawei kit in other parts of their infrastructure must be excised by the end of 2027.
DSIT secretary of state Michelle Donelan said: “This package of measures turbocharges our progress towards becoming a science and tech superpower with a substantial initial investment in the future of telecoms. We want to ensure that 6G is developed to meet the needs of people and businesses right across the UK and bolster our international competitiveness throughout the economy.”