New technology aims to build a better, more secure broadband and mobile infrastructure by boosting competition and innovation with the telecoms supply chain
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has invited universities and telecoms firms to apply for up to £25 million to research and develop new 5G and 6G network equipment.
As part of government plans to innovate the telecoms sector, The Future Open Networks Research Challenge will allow the industry to manage early-stage research into solutions such as Open Radio Access Network (RAN) for use in 5G and 6G.
This will enable operators to mix and match equipment instead of relying on one supplier, which is part of the government’s £250 million Open Networks R&D fund.
The UK will also invest £1.6 million in a joint-funded £3.6 million competition with South Korea on a world-first R&D project to speed up the development of Open RAN technology as well as improving power efficiency in these networks.
Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman said: “The seamless connectivity and blistering speeds of 5G and 6G will power a tech revolution which will enrich people’s lives and fire up productivity across the economy.
“It’s why we’re investing millions and partnering with international allies to unleash innovation and develop new ways to make these networks more secure, resilient and less reliant on a handful of suppliers.”
Mobile UK chief executive Hamish MacLeod added: “A strong, diverse mobile ecosystem in the UK will be a cornerstone of the country’s future prosperity and well-being.
“The measures announced today offer further opportunities to build on the UK’s thriving R&D into advanced telecoms, and enabling operators to access more diversity in the supply chain while enhancing security and innovation.”