The UK government has hailed the initial impact of its 5G testbed programme, saying that the initiative is already on track to provide impressive results for the country as a whole.
Launched in 2020, the 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme looks to investigate and invest in the myriad of ways superfast mobile networks can help boost industries across the UK over the next few years.
Overall, the government believes the programme can deliver £2.58bn in benefits to the nation – equivalent to around £15 benefit for every £1 invested.
UK 5G boost
In its official report on the findings and lessons learnt so far from the report, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) noted that although, “solid progress has been in delivering its short-term outcomes…the true scale of impact on long term outcomes will only be measurable in years to come.”
The report highlighted initial success in Health and Social care (improved patient outcomes and costs) and Manufacturing (boosted productivity) particularly successful.
Investment in R&D using 5G has also led to improvements across the UK supply chain, with the use of connected and autonomous vehicles set to increase in coming years. Using 5G-enabled drones to improve logistical information on tracking goods and cargo was also mentioned as a potential success story, as well as using drones to allow farmers to remotely survey and check on their crops throughout the year.
In the consumer space, using 5G to offer “enhanced visitor experiences” using virtual and augmented reality, supported by 5G-boosted edge computing was mentioned as a boost to tourism, sports and the arts.
Looking forward, the report noted that 30 5G projects are still in operation across the UK, meaning yet more benefits could be seen in the years to come, with the programme set to continue its wide-ranging investment across the UK.
“It will take years to see the full impact of our trials even once they have concluded,” the report noted.