Government updates the latest 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme
The 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (5GTT) is looking to harness areas where the UK has a competitive advantage including engineering, scientific research and technology. It aims to accelerate the implementation of 5G, create new opportunities for UK business and encourage inward investment.
The programme, part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), will maximise the efficiency and productivity benefits to the UK of 5G implementation.
West Midlands leads the way
The 5GTT programme established West Midlands 5G (WM5G) in 2019 to accelerate the implementation of 5G in the area. The regions 5G Infrastructure Acceleration programme has been recognised as the best in the country, with Brimingham ranking top for the UK's Big Six cities.
Since its inception, the programme has offered a series of innovative approaches to breaking down the barriers to implementation of 5G. These could save over £117m when rolled out across the UK and cut implementation time by as much as six months.
Looking forward, WM5G is currently implementing a Road Sensor Network trial to collect and share real-time weather, traffic and emissions data across the region. If successful, this could reduce journey delays by 5% as well as reducing accidents and lowering emissions.
5G tourism in the South West
In the South West, 5GTT is building on the success of the Bristol is Open Smart City network. Three new 5G projects have been implemented in the region - Smart Tourism, 5GUK Test Network and 5G Logistics.
5G is currently in use to enhance the visitor experience through AR and VR in The Roman Baths in Bath and at Bristol's Harbour Festival and Millennium Square. 5G has enhanced the choice of material available and scaled up the number of visitors who can enjoy the experience at any one time. 5G has reduced costs while improving quality for a better tourist experience.
While users are benefiting from a positive 5G tourism experience, 5G Logistics will improve public safety and reduce motorway congestion in the region. High-resolution camera footage and sensors can detect damage to public assets while the logistics programme will focus on reducing congestion along the corridor to the port.
Supporting carers in Liverpool
Meanwhile, the Liverpool 5G Testbed is exploring the implications of using 5G technologies to provide better health and social care services in digitally excluded communities.
5G cells have been installed on lamposts creating one of the biggest mesh networks in the world and are already providing significant benefits for residents. Lessons learned will be useful when integrating 5G into public services in a broader context.
The Push to Talk service allows unpaid carers to connect and chat at the push of a button, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. With nearly 9 million unpaid carers currently in the UK, Liverpool 5G offers a clear example of how 5G can be used to connect those who are otherwise socially isolated.
In addition the medication support device (PAMAN) saw medication adherence levels rise to 95%, 40% above the national average. This led to a 30% reduction in people visiting their GPs. Rigorous testing and user feedback allowed the technology to be tailored to user need, providing an exciting and efficient model to be implemented across the UK.