Scotland set to ramp up 5G ‘revolution’

THE Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) is launching its S5GConnect Programme, delivering the next stage of the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy with a series of hubs.

The hubs have been tipped to support economic growth through the deployment and adoption of 5G services across the country, supported by a £4 million investment from the Scottish Government.

The Connect Programme is designed to help bridge the gap between academia, industry and government bodies to accelerate 5G deployment and the adoption of 5G services.

The S5GC looks to build on Scotland’s existing Innovation Centres and government initiatives to accelerate the post-pandemic recovery and address the digital gap.

The hubs will work with mobile operators and private network providers to accelerate regional 5G networks, offer a private network with advanced capabilities, and access to an accelerator facility and mentoring schemes. To reflect the importance of SMEs, the hubs will provide specific support packages for small businesses and support SME engagement where they can develop, prototype and test real-world experiments.

Scotland’s connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP said, “The 5G revolution presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, and seizing such opportunities is particularly important as we look to build the economic recovery following the lockdown required to suppress the Covid-19 virus. A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that harnessing enhanced 4G and 5G connectivity could increase Scotland’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.

“The Scottish Government’s investment of £4 million through the S5GConnect programme will enhance and widen digital connectivity in all parts of the country because we believe that it is through deploying next-generation technologies that we can create something special for businesses, families and communities.

“The Forth Valley Hub, as the first of ten such hubs, will initially focus on the delivery of digital platforms that support job creation, skills programmes, and innovation support for SME and R&D activities. Its first project will aim to develop a green data recovery platform, which will support Scotland’s net zero economy.

“Potential locations for nine additional hubs across Scotland are being considered with plans for further rollout over the course of 2020 and 2021.”

Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre added, “The role of the Scotland 5G Centre is to act as a catalyst for bringing together industry, academia and the public sector and this programme allows us to do that.  We are excited to begin working with industry partners from a variety of sectors on this initiative. The first hub will be located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire serving the wider Forth Valley region, and builds on a partnership between Scotland’s International Environment Centre, which is part of the University of Stirling, and BT, the telecoms group.

Paul Coffey

“5G deployment has commenced, but the technology is still nascent – and some of the new use cases are still a few years away. The S5GConnect Hubs will play a key role in accelerating that process and making the potential of 5G a reality. They will think nationally, but act locally, bringing together global and national priorities with local expertise through the reach of existing regional centres and organisations.”