The investment will be split between various endeavours. It includes establishing a series of Future Telecoms Research Hubs, supporting spinout companies focused on 6G development, and a series of Innovate UK-led challenges to bring innovative solutions to the market.
The Future Telecoms Research Hubs will support and fund early-stage research into 6G technologies. They will be coordinated through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
A government representative stated that these hubs would help develop an IP portfolio to strengthen UK companies’ global competitiveness.
The government hopes this action will cement early UK market leadership and attract follow-on investments. The University of Sheffield announced in February that it will house the UK’s first national 6G research facility, set to open in January 2024. The site will play a key role in supporting 6G research and development. This could have significant implications for the future of business.
6G technology should provide far greater speeds than currently available. It is set to open up new avenues of academic research, particularly in the AI and IoT spaces. The UK government’s 6G strategy aims to shape the next generation of wireless technology and its potential applications.
The UK’s ambitions for domination in 6G
The announcement of the Future Telecoms Research Hubs forms part of what the government described as a “long-term national mission” to drive the adoption and development of 6G technologies in the UK to support the needs of businesses.
Future telecoms were earmarked as one of the government’s five critical priority technologies in its goal to become a science and technology “superpower” within the next decade.
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said, “This package of measures turbocharges our progress towards becoming a science and tech superpower with a substantial initial investment in the future of telecoms. 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.”
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