5G, a significant upgrade on current 4G mobile connectivity, is due to be rolled out across the UK from 2020 and will provide much faster, more stable connectivity and will support the development of place-based technologies like driverless cars and connected smart cities.
The testbed, backed by the University of Brighton, will initially be situated within the FuseBox innovation hub in New England House near Brighton station, but will eventually expand to cover a test area of around 200 square metres.
The project will give digital businesses, including those which build apps and content for smart phones and mobile use, the opportunity to understand how their existing products operate under 5G conditions. They will also be supported to develop new ideas which benefit from the significantly faster and more reliable connections that 5G can provide.
They will be able to work with University of Brighton academics and other members of the research community as well as learning from those larger corporations which are already investigating 5G’s capabilities.
Situating the testbed in Brighton further enhances the city’s growing international reputation for creativity and innovation, particularly in the digital sector which now contributes over £1bn per annum to the city’s economy.
The £1.2m of capital investment to build the testbed is being provided by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which won the funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
The three-year programme of engagement with businesses is supported by funding from Digital Catapult and is being led by Wired Sussex and the University of Brighton.
The Government’s recently published Industrial Strategy expects that the rollout of 5G across the UK will support growth in the UK’s economy, generating jobs and opportunities for both new and established businesses, many of those in the area covered by Coast to Capital LEP.