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North to receive multimillion pound 5G boost

Greater Manchester, Sunderland and Cumberland will received £10.6m between them to boost 5G-enabled innovation.

They are among the 10 regions sharing the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s £36m grant to promote the technology.

The 5G Innovation Regions (5GIRs) will use the cash to invest in local projects to boost advanced wireless connectivity across a wide range of sectors, including public services, sustainable farming and road safety.

Greeter Manchester Combined Authority will receive over £3m, part of which will be used to 5G-enable hundreds of air source heat pumps across social housing in the region, the rest will be invested in a digital road network to reduce congestion and carbon emissions.

“We’re channelling millions into local areas to unlock the potential of cutting-edge 5G wireless and digital technologies which will reshape our public services, drive economic growth and boost innovation,” stated Sir John Whittingdale, Minister of Data and Digital Infrastructure.

“This new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.”

Cumberland Council will receive £3.8m to use 5G and advanced wireless tech at key sites across the Region to demonstrate how it can help build the tourist economy, protect the environment and local businesses. 

Meanwhile Sunderland will get the same amount, to set up a Connected Intelligent Transport System (CITS) to improve road transport efficiency within cities and between strategically vital industrial locations, such as Nissan and the Port of Tyne. It said that this project would “redefine regional transportation dynamics.”

Other investments in Sunderland include 5G-Enabled Event Production and 360º Live Broadcasting. This will see how 5G can enable live broadcast of high bandwidth 360 video content to a “range of novel display surfaces.”

Finally it will use advanced wireless sensor technology on farms, to give farmers data from crop, soil, livestock and environmental sensors, to “drive automation, boost efficiency and enhance environmental sustainability.”

“At the forefront of our strategic collaboration is steadfast support for 5G and advanced wireless connectivity, identified as pivotal components in shaping the region’s digital landscape,” said Patrick Melia, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council.

“Connectivity is the catalyst for a sustainable and thriving future. 5G is already setting a precedent in transforming our public services and underpinning economic growth, as well as bringing social value across our communities.”

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