Universities awarded £16 million by Government to test 5G technology

Saturday, July 8th 2017

Three universities have been awarded £16 million of government money by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS), to trial and demo the first 5G mobile network in UK in 2018. Handed over to the Universities of Bristol and Surrey and King's College London, the public investment comes from a 4-year investment programme and comes from the £740 million allocated in the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). It forms part of the new 5G Testbeds and Trial scheme, with the spend for both development of 5G and to push into more areas a full fibre broadband network.


The Universities will collaborate to set up 3 small-scale mobile networks, and together form what will be the test network. Each network will have the signal transmitters and receivers, with technology to work on 5G signals, with the end-to-end trial expected to start in early 2018. It may be also linked to the joint trail of Arqiva and Samsung in London, during March 2018, using the 28GHz radio spectrum bandwidth, to run a Fixed Wireless Broadband network.


In reality, UK may not probably be at the head of the 5G race. It is likely that countries in the South East Asia region and a few other places, would be capable of rolling out the new tech. It is only next year that the official 5G standard is expected to be agreed upon, which aims to support a minimum 20Gbps download speed and 10Gbps upload speed, with 1-4ms latency times. Crucially, Ofcom is not expected to release the necessary spectrum for commercial deployment until 2020, after which it will take years to get deployment of related services.


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