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Scotland to get network of 5G hubs


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Scottish Government has confirmed the provision of £4 million to support the setting up a nationwide network of 5G hubs.

It is making the money available through the new Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC), and as part of the S5GConnect Programme.

The programme brings together academics, industry and government to boost the deployment of 5G services across the country. Healthcare and education are among the sectors identified as those that could benefit from 5G.

The first project will be located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and aims to develop a green data recovery platform and a digital twin to support Scotland’s net zero economy. A further nine hubs are planned.

Scotland’s Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “The 5G revolution presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, and seizing such opportunities is particularly important as we look to build the economic recovery following the lockdown required to suppress the COVID-19 virus. A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that harnessing enhanced 4G and 5G connectivity could increase Scotland’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.

“The Scottish Government’s investment of £4 million through the S5GConnect programme will enhance and widen digital connectivity in all parts of the country because we believe that it is through deploying next-generation technologies that we can create something special for businesses, families and communities.

“The Forth Valley Hub, as the first of 10 such hubs, will initially focus on the delivery of digital platforms that support job creation, skills programmes, and innovation support for SME and R&D activities. Its first project will aim to develop a green data recovery platform, which will support Scotland’s net zero economy.

“Potential locations for nine additional hubs across Scotland are being considered with plans for further roll out over the course of 2020 and 2021.”

Nascent technology

Paul Coffey, chief executive officer at The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “5G deployment has commenced, but the technology is still nascent – and some of the new use cases are still a few years away. The S5GConnect Hubs will play a key role in accelerating that process and making the potential of 5G a reality. They will think nationally, but act locally, bringing together global and national priorities with local expertise through the reach of existing regional centres and organisations.

“We are working in tandem with the national network of development agencies and enterprise accelerators to establish these facilities quickly.”

Image by Christoph Schultz, CC BY 2.0

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