UK aims for full 5G standalone coverage by 2030

DSIT 5G Image credit: Shutterstock

The UK government is aiming to deliver full 5G standalone coverage to all populated areas by 2030 and has unveiled a £40m fund for 5G innovation to encourage “growth at a local level”.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) announced the plans as part of its Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, which consists of an investment package worth nearly £150m.

Some 77% of the UK population currently has some form of access to 5G. Standalone 5G, also known as 5G-plus, is a mobile network that is solely 5G and not built on top of previous legacy networks like 4G.

The government is also looking ahead to the next generation of wireless standards, setting out £70m of funding – with the potential to increase up to £100m – towards the early stage development of 6G.

Along with the 6G investment, DSIT has created a £40m innovation fund for businesses and the public sector, including a regional task force to implement 5G.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, said: “We want to ensure that 6G is developed to meet the needs of people and businesses right across the UK and bolster our international competitiveness throughout the economy.”

The government has set aside a further £8m to connect 35,000 remote buildings through satellite-powered broadband.

Companies providing internet via satellite include Elon Musk’s Starlink, which began trials with the government in December, and government-backed OneWeb.

Donelan added: “This package of measures turbocharges our progress towards becoming a science and tech superpower with a substantial initial investment in the future of telecoms.”

The government said that later this month the UK will reach 75% gigabit broadband coverage.

The latest government investment in mobile internet coverage follows awards of up to £25m by the government for research and development of the tech last year.

DSIT last month said is taking a sector-by-sector approach in the regulation of AI.