The government has confirmed its commitment to roll out 5G as well as high-speed broadband in more rural parts of the UK.
In its green paper, ‘Building our Industrial Strategy’, the government said it is beginning a consultation on how to invest £4.7 billion by 2020-21 in research and development funding.
Focusing on improving productivity in the UK, the paper consults on the technologies that the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund could support, which includes the rolling out of 5G mobile networks.
Among other factors, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will focus on challenges where the global market is potentially large or fast-growing and sustainable; the UK is capable of meeting market needs in terms of research strength and business capacity; and there are significant social and economic benefits.
According to the government, that includes “transformative digital technologies including supercomputing, advanced modelling, and 5G mobile network technology”.
The paper explains that in his Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond announced a new National Productivity Investment Fund. It is set to add £23 billion in high value investment from 2017-18 to 2021-22.
This includes £740 million to support the rollout of fibre broadband connections and future 5G mobile technology.
In order to tackle the UK’s “infrastructure challenge,” the government said it is “providing higher rates of public investment, with improved institutions to support how the money is best spent”.
This includes £400 million in the new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, intended to boost commercial finance for emerging fibre broadband providers.
Some £740 million has been earmarked for full fibre broadband rollout – developing the infrastructure to deploy full fibre networks into businesses and the public sector – as well as 5G mobile technology and optical fibre.
The government explained that this will involve a co-ordinated programme of “integrated 5G and fibre projects to accelerate and de-risk deployment of future digital technologies”.