Government builds new 5G testing facility

A new government-backed 5G testing facility is to be built in Oxfordshire to help UK businesses use 5G and satellite technology.

Due for completion in 2021, the engineering hub is to be built by the IT and business consultancy CGI at the county’s Harwell Campus. The hub will get more than £3 million in government cash. Last week, the Boris Johnson government quietly muted its manifesto promise to provide the British world+dog a top interweb connection by 2025.

The new 5G HQ, which the UK Space Agency says will eventually cover the entire campus, will provide a base for UK researchers and businesses to experiment and provide a testing facility that can showcase the benefits of hybrid 5G and satellite communications networks.

Once the technology is demonstrated, the goal is to then roll out the techniques to other businesses in the UK, the organisation said.

UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said the new “state-of-the-art” facility backed by government funding will enable our brightest researchers and engineers to better understand how 5G can better connect us all, creating new business opportunities, while delivering green efficiencies across the UK.

The hub will develop software that allows satellite networks, including low earth orbit networks, to be integrated into terrestrial public and private communications networks – creating new business opportunities for application developers and mobile network providers, the UK Space Agency said.

The centre is also being backed by a European Space Agency contract and, as part of its development, CGI is working with BT, Avanti Communications, and the University of Surrey on a project to see how it can connect rural communities to 5G in the most affordable way possible.