26th June 2023
A new government initiative is poised to propel the UK's connectivity to unprecedented heights by the end of 2030. And with 5G NSA not looking at taking off any time soon, both the government and business leaders recognise where the true value and ambition within the UK telecoms industry belongs.
The recently announced Wireless Infrastructure Strategy aims to revolutionise the country's wireless networks, improving connectivity for businesses, consumers, and rural areas. Focusing on 5G standalone (SA) and future 6G technologies, the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology has unveiled an ambitious plan with a substantial budget of £148 million to achieve these goals.
The first of these goals is to deliver on expanding 5G standalone (SA), enabling exciting new technologies such as drones, driverless cars and robotics which only 5G SA delivers by higher throughputs and lower latencies than the non-standalone (NSA) offering.
With 77% of the population already accessing 5G NSA connectivity and major operators actively participating in 5G SA trials, the stage is set for standalone deployment. Additionally, one of the government objectives will be to establish 5G innovation Regions, which will be interesting to see how that will play out.
The funding announcement includes a breakdown of investments: £100 million dedicated to 6G research, £40 million allocated to a 5G innovation fund aimed at encouraging technology investment and adoption, and £8 million designated to bring broadband access to approximately 35,000 properties categorised as the "most remote" through the use of satellite technology.
Looking further ahead, the government's strategic vision extends to the realm of 6G. As 5G continues to evolve, 6G is poised to take wireless connectivity to unimaginable heights. While the specifics of 6G are still being explored, it is expected to offer unprecedented speeds, ultra-low latency, and enable groundbreaking applications, such as holographic communications, advanced AI systems, and immersive virtual reality experiences. By including 6G in their strategic roadmap, the UK demonstrates its commitment to remaining at the forefront of technological innovation.
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