The government has announced that it will be making a £16 million investment in three sites in the UK that will be linked up via 5G test beds for the first time.
According to the government, the funding is intended to bring three leading universities – King’s College London, the University of Bristol and the University of Surrey – together for the development of the world’s first trials of an end-to-end 5G system.
Leading the project is the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which will develop 5G radio technologies and a fully virtualised mobile core network at 3.5GHz and 700 MHz frequency bands for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC).
Bristol University will then deploy 5G capability in the extensive Smart City and Smart Campus test beds in the city, which targets full 5G and fibre infrastructure convergence. The institute will also contribute to the key Software Defined Network technologies for end-to-end 5G service delivery. Public demonstrators will be the focus of delivery, targeting media, gaming and transport applications.
Meanwhile, King’s College London is driving the vision for ultra-low latency 5G tactile internet developments with ‘Internet of Skills’ applications, a virtual reality (VR) project it has been working on with Ericsson.
The university added that through the King’s College London 5G Tactile Internet Lab, it is also pioneering a number of important 5G co-design approaches with various industries, including smart cities, smart transport, performing arts and health.
According to the government, the 5G hub will be integrated at the system level and will build sufficient capability and capacity for further nationwide test and trials of 5G technologies and advanced applications.
Initial end-to-end testing will be carried out early next year across the three universities’ sites.
Government minister for digital Matt Hancock 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.”