The government is building a test facility for ‘state-of-the-art’ 5G equipment on the premises of the European Space Agency in Oxfordshire. Scheduled for completion next year, it will allow UK companies to experience the potential of 5G and satellite technology.
Oliver Dowden, the government’s digital secretary, announced the move as part of a “diversification strategy” to find “local ways to open up the global 5G market.”
The government will inject £ 250million into the launch of the project, which “will plant the flag of Global Britain in the sand of 5G”.
The announcement precedes a debate in parliament today on the Telecommunications (Security) Bill which, if passed, will give the government the power to dictate which providers of equipment telecommunications companies can use.
The government has previously identified Huawei as a “high-risk” supplier, leading Mr Dowden to announce in July that all telecom providers should remove their equipment from UK 5G networks by 2027.
In his latest statement, published in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Dowden said telecommunications companies should stop installing Huawei equipment by September 2021. However, without the passage of the bill, which passes today hui on second reading, no action can be taken.
He also announced proposals to impose heavy fines on telecom providers if they fail to meet strict security requirements.
How will the National Telecoms Lab be used?
The Oxfordshire 5G hub, which is backed by more than £ 3million in government funding, will be a test facility for hybrid 5G and satellite communications networks.
The government hopes that the techniques worked on in the laboratory can be extended to other companies across the UK.
Why is 5G connectivity important?
5G technology is expected to enable dazzling developments in the telecommunications industry, on a global scale.
It offers the latest advances in wireless communication, including faster data speeds and lower network latency.
Space and tech companies are particularly focused on 5G, as it enables a wide variety of applications across all industries. This includes the Internet of Things, or smart technology networks, and augmented reality, which have applications in areas such as manufacturing, public safety, business and communications software, entertainment, and gaming.
It could also help make manufacturing and farming more efficient and help connect remote villages as well as areas affected by natural disasters.