BOURNEMOUTH is poised to play a “key part” in the next phase of efforts to make Britain a world leader in 5G technology.
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the budget that £16million would be spent on a “cutting edge 5G facility” which will have the technology to run trials of 5G applications, though no location has been revealed.
Bournemouth is already the test bed for the development by Ordnance Survey of a mapping tool which is being developed to allow the development of 5G.
Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Bournemouth is in a strong position to be a key part in this next wave of 5G development. Our work with the Ordnance Survey to provide a test bed environment for the mapping tool required to launch 5G puts the town at the forefront of plans to introduce 5G mobile coverage.
“Through this work we are supporting the government’s aims to become a world leader in 5G technology and we will continue to engage with central government as the programme develops.”
An event hosted by the council and Ordnance Survey updated the town’s digital and tech sector on the 5G plans.
Dan Willis, engagement director at British Software Development in Bournemouth, who was at the briefing, said “in essence, nobody knows” exactly what 5G will be.
“As a technology it has not been fully defined. The standards, capacity, speed are still yet to be set,” he said.
“Due to this, a number of test-bed projects will be performed throughout the UK, of which Bournemouth has been chosen to be one.
“Ordnance Survey will be mapping areas Bournemouth to understand the effect that buildings, lamp posts, trees or even rain can have on high frequency 5G signals.”
The pilot will help establish the limitations and cost of implementing 5G to urban areas, providing government with data for a national rollout.
Mr Willis said 5G would enable far more data to be communicated than before, meaning live streaming of video and immersive tech such as virtual reality would no longer lag.
“Although the throughput of these signals have not been standardised, we will have access to a faster, higher quality network – which can only be a good thing for tech hubs like Bournemouth,” he said.
5G could enable “smart cities”, with real time data used for traffic calming and to control traffic lights, enabling emergency services to know the quickest routes.