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Home > News > Industry News > West Midlands to be 5G test-be.....

West Midlands to be 5G test-bed

  • Author:Ella Cai
  • Release on:2018-09-04
The West Midlands will have the UK’s first multi-city 5G test-bed with the region becoming the region the first in the UK ready to trial new 5G applications and services at scale.

The Urban Connected Communities Project, the next step in the Government’s 5G Testbed and Trials Programme, will develop a large-scale, 5G pilot across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

Up to £50m is currently available for the project, subject to further development and approval of the business plan. This includes £25m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and a further £25m match funding from regional partners. An additional £25m may be made available at a later stage.

The  West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) will now work with the 5G Testbeds and Trials Team at the DCMS and industry partners on preparing the formal business case for approval, with the first of a series of projects expected to go live early next year.

The WMCA bid has an initial focus on the health, construction and automotive sectors, with its overarching ambition to help drive economic growth and benefit people’s lives through participation in new digital technologies and digitally transformed public services.

Subject to formal approval, initial plans include:

  • Hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations carried out remotely by video link not subject to droppage or latency barriers. As well as being more convenient for patients, this means they can play back their appointment at a later date or share it securely with a family member or carer to help inform their care. 
  • “Connected Ambulances” – Paramedic crews at an incident could access specialist advice while they are at the scene, eg video conferencing with consultants or other clinical specialists. Live streaming of patient data from ambulance en route to hospital would help inform the immediate care patients receive on arrival. 
  • Live streaming of CCTV footage from public transport buses, enabling police officers to take immediate action against anti-social behaviour. “Intelligent cameras” using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify incidents could provide the opportunity for far greater coverage than is possible at present. 
  • The WMCA will partner with Jaguar Land Rover to facilitate real world testing of driverless cars.