- The British government is seeking cities with populations of around 500,000 people to apply to become a 5G infrastructure testbed. The application period closes in June.
- The chosen city will test 5G technology in areas such as health, mobility and manufacturing to determine how the infrastructure can make cities safer, greener, more efficient and more attractive places to live.
- The city's investments will be funded through a $281 million account the government has designated for developing 5G technologies.
Early last month, the UK government provided six other 5G projects with about $35 million for testing various technologies. The projects will test 5G benefits for tourism, agriculture and driverless vehicles, in addition to focusing on benefits for rural communities.
Big cities tend to have more means and partnership opportunities than rural areas for developing and implementing innovations. Although a community of 500,000 people doesn't classify as "rural," it also doesn't usually qualify as a "big city." The call for mid-size cities for the new testbed program furthers the government's previous efforts to bring innovation to regions that otherwise might not be able to afford being on the forefront of 5G technology.
Although the UK government says that funding for the 5G city will come a $281 million coffer, it's unclear exactly how much funding the community will receive for the infrastructure projects. Last month's funding was handed out to the six winners in chunks ranging from $2.8 million to $7 million.
Choosing one city as a large 5G testbed could prove to be a more comprehensive and cohesive way to trial the new technology compared with setting up one or two small pilot projects in several cities. It could create an economy of scale by allowing for resource pooling on the many 5G projects that will be implemented throughout the winning city.