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Funding package unveiled

5G innovation hubs aim to boost connectivity

Paul Wheelhouse

Paul Wheelhouse: opportunities (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse will today unveil plans to create a network of  5G hubs to promote innovation and investment.

The Scotland 5G Centre (S5G) is the national centre for accelerating the roll-out of the network, working with mobile operators and private network providers.

The SD5G Connect hubs, backed by a £4m investment from the Scottish government, will also provide specific support packages for small businesses.

The first hub will be in Alloa, serving the wider Forth Valley region, and builds on a partnership between Scotland’s International Environment Centre, which is part of the University of Stirling, and BT.

A further nine hubs are being considered with plans for further rollout over the next year.

Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre, said: The role of the Scotland 5G Centre is to act as a catalyst for bringing together industry, academia and the public sector and this programme allows us to do that.  We are excited to begin working with industry partners from a variety of sectors on this initiative.

“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. 

Mr Wheelhouse 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.

“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 £4m 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 ten 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.”

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