Cambridgeshire to be one of the first to trial 5G

With speeds of 100 times greater than existing broadband, Cambridgeshire looks like it may be one of the first areas in the UK to trial 5G services.

The plans to improve mobile, broadband and public Wi-Fi coverage have been implemented under the extension to the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme for market towns and villages. The programme will aim to increase the county’s full-fibre footprint over the next four years including significantly improving voice and data mobile coverage as well as better public Wi-Fi access and trialling of 5G mobile broadband.

The 5G connectivity, which will provide up to 100 times faster than existing broadband, is potentially to be trialled as part of the test and pilot of CAM Metro.

Bob Driver, CEO of Cambridge Wireless who is co-ordinating the national 5G Innovation Network called on behalf of the Government, said: “It’s great to see Cambridgeshire aiming to be at the forefront of 5G.

“Apart from increased speeds, 5G promises improved reliability, and ultra-low latency communications offering real opportunities for transforming our transport infrastructure, and improving efficiencies in, for example, the manufacturing sector, as we move towards the ‘internet of everything’.”

With the extension of the programme, the aim is to create a digital innovation corridor and further develop full-fibre plans using busway ducting so as to enable conduction of electricity and provide easy access to fibre connectivity, power and streetlights.

Noelle Godfrey, programme director for Connecting Cambridgeshire and Smart Cambridge, confirmed: “We are continuing to investigate further potential funding streams.”

The 5G rollout will benefit both citizens and business and currently has the support from the Combined Authority, as well as the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme. Unfortunately, a recent bid for funding from the government’s 5G Urban Connected Communities fund was unsuccessful.

Approximately 62 per cent of homes and business in South Cambridgeshire at present do not have full 4G coverage, according to data from Ofcom.