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5G Innovation

Why is 5G important?

Super-fast and ultra-reliable 5G is expected to bring improved, secure connectivity while also managing much higher volumes of data.

This exciting technology could hold the key to a better, more sustainable future for the region. Innovative uses of 5G will allow businesses to grow through new and efficient ways–of working, contributing to our economic recovery and the fight against climate change.

5G innovation

What is 5G used for?

1G – 4G (G is for ‘generation’) focused on enhanced personal connectivity services and features. 5G is the first ‘G’ for industry and business in general. More than about faster download speeds, it will support communication between the machines that power the Internet of Things (IoT), which depends on large amounts of data to make smart decisions, often in real time.

5G will allow businesses of all sizes to explore new commercial opportunities and the public sector to test new ways of delivering services. This will have a huge impact on people’s lives – supporting everything from assisted living to monitoring and responding to air pollution.

New techniques like network slicing (or the provision of multiple services using one network) allow different services to run simultaneously, prioritising critical services where connectivity cannot be lost – think smart traffic management or emergency services.

Kids looking at phones and holding 5G Smart Futures brochure
Kid with Airbus tablet
Firemen using a tablet

5G testbeds and projects

The West of England wants to be a smart region and is already home to the largest cluster of digital expertise outside of London. The region’s businesses and universities are at the forefront of innovation in next-generation communications networks, including 5G.

In collaboration with the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet lab, the West of England Combined Authority is trialling new applications of 5G through innovative ‘testbeds’ – in conjunction with business around the region.

Connectivity for the region

We recognise that improving broadband and mobile connectivity for residents will help the region benefit from the opportunities that reliable and high-speed digital communications can bring – including better access to education, healthcare and employment opportunities.

The Combined Authority has been conducting a study on broadband coverage and speeds across the region. This will inform a Digital Transformation programme, with big plans for increasing broadband connectivity, digital innovation and digital skills.

Trucks on a container ship

The Combined Authority is leading a consortium of 12 partners, including Bristol Port Company and the Smart Internet Lab, to demonstrate how 5G private network capabilities can increase efficiency and productivity for the logistics sector.

Lady with VR glasses on Image credit: Ultrahaptics

The first of the authority’s government-funded 5G testbed projects, 5G Tourism brought together digital experts and some of the region’s biggest tourist attractions, including The Roman Baths, We the Curious, M Shed and Millennium Square to demonstrate the ground-breaking potential of 5G for the tourism sector.