AUTUMN STATEMENT REACTION

Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced today (Wednesday 23rd November 2016) that £1bn is to be invested in full fibre broadband and 5G network rollout in the UK, including an opportunity for UK Local Authorities to bid for trial superfast 5G networks.

Sunderland Software City welcomes today’s announcement by the Chancellor that Local Authority consortiums in the UK are to be given the opportunity to submit competitive bids for a share of a £1bn fund to trial superfast 5G mobile networks.

David Dunn, Chief Executive of Sunderland Software City said:

“Sunderland Software City welcomes today’s announcement by the Chancellor that Local Authority consortiums in the UK are to be given the opportunity to submit competitive bids for a share of a £1bn fund to trial superfast 5G mobile networks.

5G represents a step-change in mobile communications technology and will not only deliver a substantial increase in speed but will also enable a more reliable, wireless connectivity that is capable of handling complex engagements between multiple devices, supporting a more connected digital economy.

This fund provides the North East a huge opportunity to be at the forefront technology deployment that will fundamentally change the way we live our lives.  5G is not just about faster downloads, it offers possibilities across all industries to do things in significantly different ways, it is a true enabling technology.

Through the Digital Catapult Centre North East & Tees Valley and alongside the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Nexus we have already planned much of our submission to Government.  Indeed, because of the importance of 5G and its potential impact to industries in the region we had already decided to hire a 5G Project Manager work with industry to ensure 5G benefits a broad range of businesses in the area.

We believe the geography and existing infrastructure of the North East provides the ideal test bed location.  Building on our links with the 5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey and utilising the existing Tyne and Wear Metro fibre ducting network, there is the ability to bring 5G technology to almost 1.5million individuals and businesses.

This unique environment represents a huge growth opportunity for the region’s digital businesses, enabling them to utilise the network to develop and test new solutions, products and services and forge partnerships with global research and development teams; which in turn will be a magnet for inward innovation engagement and investment from global telecommunications organisations keen to work alongside the region’s digital businesses to develop products with global export potential– creating employment and supporting the regional economy.

The test-bed will also deliver a step change in the region’s communications infrastructure, meaning that as well as serving urban centres and supporting Smart Cities, the network can support and deliver new opportunities to the area’s significant base of rural communities and businesses that are investing in global R&D.

Although we are confident the North East provides the ideal, ready location for a 5G test-bed, we believe it is important that there is a UK-wide strategy with dedicated coordination to enable roll-out, adoption and use of 5G technologies that accelerates the country’s competitiveness and supports further growth in the digital economy.”

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