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The UK government plans to create a cutting-edge telecoms lab in the Midlands, according to a report in ITPro. The aim of the project is to bolster the UK network strategy and create high-skilled jobs in the region.

The UK Telecommunications Lab is to be built in Solihull. Once it’s operational, the lab is to host academics, telecom operators and network suppliers to confer on network deployments and test equipment effectively. The lab will also be primed to detect network security vulnerabilities in order to prevent cyber threats to critical national infrastructure (CNI).

A key goal for the lab will be to support emerging telcos by ensuring the interoperability of telecommunications equipment within the wider market. This will enable tech from a range of manufacturers and network operators to work together, which is essential to the government’s £250 million strategy to diversify the UK 5G market.

It’s hoped that the national research facility will provide manufacturers with an environment in which they can realistically demonstrate new 5G equipment while also acting as a hub for 6G trials as the new standard matures.

Feeding the growing tech hub in Birmingham

The lab will feed into schemes such as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) disruptive telecoms tech competition unveiled in March, and its £3.6 million research scheme in partnership with South Korea to accelerate the development of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology.

Birmingham is one of the UK’s leading cities within the sector, boasting over 56,000 tech startup employees. According to research by job search engine Adzuna, tech jobs in Birmingham were up 21.3 percent in the first half of 2022.

“Fast-growing firms are cementing Birmingham’s status as a tech powerhouse — boosting jobs and spreading economic growth right across the West Midlands”, said tech minister Damian Collins. “As a result, there is no better home for the new UK Telecoms Lab, which will turn the region into a centre for expertise and innovation in the security of next-generation mobile networks.”