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by Sofia Villegas
17 November 2023
Drones to monitor crops and livestock among projects set to benefit from multi-million-pound plan to enhance 5G connectivity

Glasgow City, North Ayrshire are Cumberland councils are amongst those to to benefit from the fund | Alamy

Drones to monitor crops and livestock among projects set to benefit from multi-million-pound plan to enhance 5G connectivity

Drones which monitor crops and livestock and smart systems which tackle congestion levels are among projects set to benefit from a multi-million-pound investment.

Scotland will receive a share of a £36m fund to accelerate the deployment of 5G and wireless technologies.

Funded by the UK Government, the 5G Innovation Regions programme will provide wireless connectivity infrastructure to ten UK regions to enhance sectors such as transport, farming, and public services.

Glasgow is one of the areas set to benefit from the economic boost. The region will receive more than £3m to fund a project to support the health and social sector.

By using innovations including Internet of Things technology, the programme hopes to create environmentally friendly social housing and to manage assets and services more efficiently.

Other recipients north of the border include North Ayrshire Council, which will receive almost £4m to create new 5G adoption hubs.

UK Government minister for Scotland, John Lamont, said: “Scotland has a history of being at the forefront of innovation and technology and this funding will make sure this remains the case. All the areas will use this technology to help people’s lives, Glasgow through improving the monitoring of health and social care services, North Ayrshire will accelerate the adoption of digital and wireless technologies and the Borderlands Region will help increase tourism.”

The programme forms part of the government’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, which states that deploying wireless connectivity “will be the foundation” of creating a “prosperous future” for the UK.

With this economic boost, the government hopes to unlock the power of 5G wireless tech to ensure the nation can exploit the economic injection of around £160bn the industry is expected to bring by 2035, according to recent research.

Along with the project, the government also announced the formation of an advisory group which will help local areas submit feedback on how to support their connectivity goals and encourage both investment and local adoption of the technology.

Nick Johnson, head of the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) said: “While this is fantastic news for the ten regions chosen, UKTIN will play a pivotal role in taking their innovations and learnings to the whole of the UK. 

“We will collaborate with successful regions to overcome adoption hurdles and deliver best practice and insights to communities across the country, so that all regions and nations can benefit from the lessons being learned through both 5G Innovation Regions and other relevant initiatives.”

Improving access to digital connectivity nationwide is one of the UK Government’s levelling up projects, and forms part of the national digital strategy - which aims to give everyone access to the tools and skills needed to benefit from the online world.

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