Research and development on next generation 5G and 6G wireless technology and telecoms security is to be ramped up as part of a £110 million government investment.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced a funding package that includes the provision of £28 million to three universities to develop 6G network technology and £80 million to set up a UK Telecoms Lab for testing network equipment.
The Universities of York, Bristol and Surrey will receive shares of the fund to work with telecoms companies including Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung, both to research 6G and support the roll out of 5G.
The UK Telecoms Lab is being built in Solihull and, under a contract with the National Physical Laboratory, will act as a secure research facility for mobile network operators, suppliers and academics.
In addition, DCMS announced a new research and development partnership with the Republic of Korea to accelerate the deployment of Open RAN (radio access network) and associated technologies. The department will provide £1.2 million for work on the power efficiency of emerging technical equipment.
Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan said: “The technology powering our phone and internet networks is evolving rapidly and with 6G on the horizon we must stay ahead of the curve.
“This government investment will see top UK universities join forces with industry to develop the nuts and bolts underpinning new networks, create skilled jobs testing the security of the latest telecoms tech, and ensure our plan for a more diverse and innovative 5G market is sustained in the future.
“The funding will also turbocharge our work to strengthen telecoms supply chains so we are no longer reliant on a handful of companies to develop and maintain our 5G networks.”
The initiatives will complement work on developing a Wireless Infrastructure Strategy for the UK, which will including the Government’s vision for 6G, and DCMS’ work with the Engineering and Physical Sciences research council on the development of a series of future communications systems research hubs.