A state of the art testbed to help small, innovative businesses across the UK develop new products and services that can benefit from 5G technologies is to be based in Brighton.
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 support the development of place-based technologies like driverless cars and connected smart cities.
The testbed 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.
This testbed project will give digital businesses, including those who 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 academics and other members of the research community as well as learning from those larger corporations who are already investigating 5G's capabilities.
Situating the testbed in Brighton further enhances its 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 which won the funding from the Government's Local Growth Fund. The 3-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 Local Enterprise Partnership.
Jonathan Sharrock, CEO of Coast to Capital LEP said:
"Coast to Capital LEP are very pleased to support the 5G testbed. We recognise the vital role that new digital technologies play in growing our regional economy. The testbed will contribute to this by helping our smaller and medium sized business develop the 5G Skills, products, services to compete internationally."
Jeremy Silver, CEO of the Digital Catapult Centre said:
"Digital Catapult is delighted to be delivering the 5G testbed in Brighton. The arrival of 5G is fundamental to ensure the UK digital economy continues to thrive. It has the potential to transform the way we work, live and play, by driving innovations in industries including manufacturing, health, creative and energy. For the UK to realise the potential of 5G, real-scale open innovation testbeds are essential to bring early stakeholders together to explore both the opportunities and requirements for the mobile industry, and for business both large and small. This is vitally important to ensure the infrastructure delivers for all."
Digital and culture minister Matt Hancock said:
"We want to be a world leader in 5G, and we are providing over £1 billion of funding to explore and incentivise the next generation of digital infrastructure for the UK.
Government investment in projects like the Brighton Test Bed will help make sure that businesses of all sizes can create the products and services that will realise the full potential of this exciting technology."
For more information please contact:
Phil Jones, Board Member, Coast to Capital LEP on 077103 92570 or alternatively
Zak Clisby, Business Support Officer, Coast to Capital on firstname.lastname@example.org
About Coast to Capital LEP
Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was established by Government in 2010. We are a unique business-led collaboration between the private, public and education sectors across a diverse area which includes the London Borough of Croydon, East Surrey, Gatwick Diamond, Brighton & Hove, Lewes and West Sussex.
Working in partnership we aim to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area to secure a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.
We take a strategic lead in ensuring that the infrastructure and conditions for economic growth are in place across our diverse region, which includes both urban and rural areas. This includes the facilitation of the Government's Local Growth Fund, the Growing Places Fund and the European Structural and Investment Fund.
Coast to Capital is not a delivery organisation, however in order to create favourable conditions for growth, we identify priorities and strategies for improving the supply of housing, investment in infrastructure and skills development.