Cisco and partners come together to give UK leading position in 5G

By Johan De Mulder

A new 5G testbed funded by the United Kingdom government will be powered by Cisco and a network of tech leaders.

The end-to-end rural network - 5G RuralFirst - will test the benefits of 5G to communities and industries such as agriculture, broadcasting and utilities, with the ultimate aim of pushing the UK ahead in the race for the technology.

Cisco's 32 collaboration partners include some of the country's most innovative startups, tech leaders and academic institutions such as the University of Strathclyde, its principal ally on the project.

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Key use cases include the delivery of broadcast radio over a 5G network with the BBC, smart farming in partnerhsip with Agri-EPI Centre and Internet of Things (IoT) testing in Utilities and Environment Management.

"The UK currently ranks 5th in the world when it comes to our readiness to embrace digital," said Cisco Europe's Director of Innovation Nick Chrissos. "We have the ambition, the innovative heritage and the expert ecosystems to shape the UK’s digital future, but to do so we have to address fundamental issues like making internet connectivity work for everyone.

"5G RuralFirst looks to help close the digital divide in the UK. To uncover the opportunities and challenges faced in 5G deployment, and to ensure that it can do what other generations have yet to. It’s not only about implementing the right technology in the right way. It’s about designing networking technology intelligently from the very start."

The UK government is pledging to support 5G implementation in the United Kingdom with £25mn worth of funding, as reported by Business Chief earlier this month.

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