Investment strategy

Public sector can lead 5G technology revolution, says Sturgeon

DB mag and mobile

5G technology means faster speeds and greater flexibility

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has spelled out a vision in which technological change in the public sector can help drive up productivity and employment across the economy.

Unveiling a new plan that will put Scotland at the forefront of the 5G revolution, she said the next generation of mobile internet, offering faster speeds and enhanced connectivity could transform transport, education, healthcare and agriculture among other sectors.

Analysts at Deloitte estimate 5G could add £17 billion – just over £1bn a year – to GDP over the next 15 years, increasing productivity by £1,600 per worker. Annual tax revenues could rise £5.7bn from adding 3,100 new businesses employing 160,000 more people, while export volumes could riser by £3.3bn.

The Deloitte report, commissioned by Scottish Futures Trust, points out that the benefits from digitalisation will require long-term commitments by policymakers and industry to address key challenges. The report has therefore been published to coincide with Scottish Government’s 5G strategy, Forging our Digital Future with 5G.

There are huge potential gains for the public sector if we embrace technologies such as 5G

– Nicola Sturgeon

It sets out how the Scottish Government will work with industry, the regulator and other public sector bodies to make sure all of Scotland – including rural areas – benefits from the technology.

Speaking during a visit to Glasgow University’s School of Engineering, the First Minister said: “Our 5G plan sets out the actions we believe are needed to ensure as much of Scotland as possible shares in the vast potential growth on offer. Our aspiration is to position Scotland as a 5G leader and a forward-looking digital nation.

“There are huge potential gains for the public sector if we embrace technologies such as 5G. We believe this will be a catalyst for further public sector transformation, enabling high quality, user-focused and efficient services that are driven by data.”

Professor Chris Pearce, Dean of Research in the College of Science & Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said: “5G is a next-generation network technology which is faster, has the potential to revolutionise digital communications and create real social impact in Scotland – from public health to the environment.

“The University of Glasgow has been working with academic partners, including the University of Strathclyde, and Scottish Futures Trust on 5G and we are delighted that the Scottish Government’s 5G Strategy recognises the importance this technology will have in creating services and applications that will benefit our NHS, industry and people right across Scotland.”

Andrew McRae, Federation of Small Businesses Scotland’s policy chairman, said: “Scotland needs to be in the digital fast lane because the next generation of mobile technologies have the potential to boost growth and drive innovation. 

“Three quarters of Scottish businesses say that digital technologies are important to their plans for future growth.

“This new 5G strategy is a step in the right direction.”

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