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Cambridgeshire to be among first to trial 5G - with speeds of 100 times existing broadband





Cambridgeshire will lead the way on 5G
Cambridgeshire will lead the way on 5G

Extension to Connecting Cambridgeshire programme aims to improve full-fibre footprint

A Connecting Cambridgeshire gathering at the Bradfield Centre on the Science Park earlier this year. From left Steve Count, James Palmer and David Cleevely, with other speakers behind. Picture: Keith Heppell
A Connecting Cambridgeshire gathering at the Bradfield Centre on the Science Park earlier this year. From left Steve Count, James Palmer and David Cleevely, with other speakers behind. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridgeshire is hoping to be one of the first areas in the country to trial 5G – fifth generation – services.

Under an extension to the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, plans are being drawn up to improve mobile, broadband and public wi-fi coverage – particularly in market towns and rural villages.

Over the next four years, the programme aims to significantly increase the county’s full-fibre footprint, which would include improvements in voice and data mobile coverage (2G and 4G), better public-access wi-fi and trials of 5G mobile broadband.

The programme aims to create a “digital innovation corridor” to further develop full-fibre plans using busway ducting, which allows for the conduction of a substantial current of electricity and could provide ready access to fibre connectivity, power and streetlights.

Cambridgeshire digital connectivity blueprint for 21st-century infrastructure
Cambridgeshire digital connectivity blueprint for 21st-century infrastructure

It is also suggested that 5G connectivity, which is up to 100 times faster than existing broadband, could be trialled as part of the test and pilot of CAM Metro.

“It’s great to see Cambridgeshire aiming to be at the forefront of 5G,” said Bob Driver, CEO of Cambridge Wireless, who is is co-ordinating, on behalf of the Government, the national 5G Innovation Network called UK5G.org.

“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’.”

Both citizens and business would benefit from 5G rollout, with support from the Combined Authority, and the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme. However, a recent bid for funding from the government’s 5G Urban Connected Communities fund was not successful.

Bob Driver is leading UK5g.og for the government
Bob Driver is leading UK5g.og for the government

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

Recent data released by Ofcom shows that almost two thirds (62 per cent) of homes and businesses in South Cambridgeshire do not have full 4G coverage.

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