A network of 5G hubs is being launched across Scotland to support the rollout and adoption of 5G services.
Supported by £4m funding from the Scottish Government, the S5GConnect hubs will be delivered by the Scotland 5G Centre, which was set up in October 2019 as a partnership between the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Futures Trust to promote 5G.
The first hub will be in Alloa, serving the wider Forth Valley region, with a further nine hubs to be rolled out in 2020 and 2021.
Each of the S5GConnect hubs will promote innovation and investment, focusing on sectors relevant to their local areas.
They will work with mobile operators and private network providers to accelerate regional 5G networks, offer a private network with advanced capabilities, as well as access to an accelerator facility and mentoring schemes.
The hubs will also provide specific support packages for small businesses, helping them to develop, prototype and test real-world experiments and use cases over a 5G innovation platform and offering one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale up businesses.
The Alloa hub builds on a partnership between Scotland’s International Environment Centre, which is part of the University of Stirling, and BT.
The aim of the programme is to build a national 5G infrastructure and establish the country as a global leader in 5G technologies.
Launching the hubs programme, Minister for Energy, Connectivity, and the Islands Paul 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 following the lockdown required to suppress the COVID-19 virus.
“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.
“Potential locations for nine additional hubs across Scotland are being considered with plans for further rollout over the course of 2020 and 2021.”
Paul Coffey, chief executive of the Scotland 5G Centre, said: “We are delighted to be launching the S5GConnect programme today and to be able to start the process of offering businesses across Scotland the opportunity to get involved in the acceleration of 5G deployment.
“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.”