press release
Published: 15 December 2016

University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre welcomes the UK Government’s commitment to fibre and 5G

By Peter La

The director and industry board of the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) announce today that it is ready to move quickly to help the Government realise the goal of 5G leadership through the trials mentioned in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. The Centre believes the Government initiative has come just in time to keep the UK ahead as the global pace of 5G is speeding up. 

Aerial view of city and 5g waves

5GIC regards an extensive fibre network as an essential component of 5G networks.  This will revolutionise the potential to increase mobile broadband services, speed, capacity and coverage while using the same networks to connect large numbers of Internet of Things devices and support new mission-critical and safety to life services which require exceptionally high reliability and guaranteed latency. All parts of the UK economy and public services have the potential to be transformed by the coming technology and 5GIC looks forward to helping the Government realise its vision.

The 5GIC’s existing campus-wide 5G test bed is being further developed to allow further 5G technology demonstration and proof of concept of emerging 5G technologies. 5GIC is looking to build new and extend existing partnerships with the aim of realising the Government’s vision of integrated fibre and 5G trials to allow the UK to be at the forefront of the build-out and use of the new networks.

Luke Ibbetson, Group R&D Director at Vodafone, said: “The 5GIC is an important test bed that will allow engineers and developers to test the capabilities of 5G networks and gain a better understanding of how they will benefit consumers and businesses across the UK. As a founding member of the 5GIC, we look forward to helping to define the new standard and developing technology that will contribute towards making the UK a Gigabit Society.”

Paul Crane, Head of Mobile Research, BT, said: ”The 5GIC is in a unique position to help Government meet its ambitions of harnessing the benefits of 5G for the UK economy. Its industry relationships, world class research and test bed make the 5GIC an obvious candidate to continue with the development of this technology.”

Mike Short, VP Public Affairs at Telefonica, said: “From its formation 5GIC has shown the benefits of collaboration in 5G research, shared knowledge and standards development.  We are now entering a new phase where cross industry trials and demonstrators will be needed to prove the 5G technologies will be cost effective, scalable internationally, and service relevant. Wireless, fibre and security innovation need to be harnessed together to enhance these Digital services to our future customers. We also welcome the Government's support in this direction.”

Jeremy Silver, CEO Digital Catapult, said: “Accelerating UK digital innovation depends on the country having an advanced integrated digital infrastructure. Future mobile standard, 5G is a central enabler to the convergence of the fibre and cellular services which will drive economic growth and improve productivity globally. The UK would benefit from a coordinated programme of test beds that are inclusive, open and allow the exploration of new business models arising from 5G for large and small companies alike. The UK through 5GIC has done pioneering work, we need to continue to leverage the best of the UK R&D advances in 5G and fibre infrastructure services."

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