Scotland continues to make strides to deploy 5G as a keystone foundation for their digital nation.
In August of last year First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the nation’s 5G strategy, saying she wants to position Scotland “as a 5G leader and a forward-looking digital nation”, and released the Scottish Government’s ‘Forging our Digital Future with 5G’ plan, stating the technology could add £17bn to GDP by 2035, “creating 160,000 jobs and increasing productivity by £1,600 a worker”.
A year later a £4m investment has been announced to create a network of 5G hubs, via the S5GConnect programme, which will help bridge the gap between academia, industry and government bodies to accelerate 5G deployment and the adoption of 5G services to realise its economic and societal potential for Scotland.
Starting in the Forth Valley the S5GConnect Hubs will promote innovation and investment, focusing on sectors relevant to their local areas. The Hubs 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.
To reflect the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Scottish economy, the hubs will also provide specific support packages for small businesses. They will support SME engagement where they can develop, prototype and test real-world experiments and use cases over a 5G innovation platform, offer one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale businesses.
Enhancing Scotland’s Digital Connectivity
The broader context of this initiative is discussed by Paul Wheelhouse in this parliamentary address.
Paul begins by highlighting that while telecommunications is reserved to Westminster the Scottish Government is very actively committed to transforming Scotland’s digital connectivity and delivering world class digital infrastructure.
This includes the £400m superfast broadband investment which has met their target of providing fibre to 95% of premises across Scotland.