West Midlands named UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed

Photo credit: iStock/D3Damon

The government has announced the West Midlands is to become the UK's first multi-city 5G testbed.

Large-scale trials of 5G applications and services will take place in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

This could pave the way for the technology to be deployed more widely across other parts of the country.

Margot James, the Digital Minister, commented: "5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring."

Ms James said the West Midlands testbed will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world and will be "instrumental" in helping the country realise its ambitions.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, added that this is a "game-changing" announcement for the region, as 5G will be the "backbone of our future economy and society".

"The potential of this technology is endless and we will enjoy the benefits first," he stated.

"Everything can be made better thanks to the power of this technology."

Possible applications of 5G technology include enabling healthcare professionals to offer real-time video consultations to patients, as well as remote treatments to those who are less able to travel.

Ministers also believe 5G could help to improve traffic management in cities, with jams and disjointed journeys being made a thing of the past through the widespread use of sensors and real-time monitoring of traffic and public transport.

In addition, the technology could revolutionise the visitor experience in popular tourist venues, through the use of augmented and virtual reality technologies.