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by Eva Hall & Sofia Villegas
27 February 2024
New multi-million-pound funding to place UK at the heart of next-generation telecoms

New funding to help UK telecommunications research | UK Space Agency

New multi-million-pound funding to place UK at the heart of next-generation telecoms

The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has announced a new multi-million-pound fund to help UK companies lead global telecommunications services. 

Until April 12, firms will have the opportunity to bid for a share of £10m. 

The funding competition is open to projects in any aspect of the space, ground, or network segments. Potential projects could be developing laser-power space communications to looking into using space technology to enhance efficiency in international trading.

Successful applicants could be “vital for the future of the UK”, UK minister for space Andrew Griffith has said, as they could help tackle connectivity gaps in rural areas and manage traffic for self-driving vehicles.

The latter could be a timely outcome, given that a bill to regulate the use of automated vehicles on roads is currently being scrutinised as the House of Commons.

Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the economic injection is part of the UK’s commitment to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Advanced Research in Telecommunication Systems (ARTES) programme.

Since 2022, the UK has invested £190m to the ARTES programme, which aims support innovations in telecommunication to enhance the quality of life on Earth an unlock growth opportunities for businesses

Paul Bate, chief executive of the UKSA, said: “Satellites have connected people and businesses across the world for decades, and the UK has a rich heritage in advanced communications technology.

“As demand for global connectivity and data continues to soar, this funding will help UK companies develop and broaden their range of products and services – from satellite components to ground systems – and collaborate with new partners. It is a great example of how we can use our leading role in ESA to catalyse investment and unlock the benefits of future telecoms technologies.”

Previously funded projects by the programme include the development of a miniature ground station to support disaster relief operations and Europe’s first in-orbit demonstration of a new type of water propulsion.

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