£4 million for next-generation Internet connectivity in Scotland

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By Kristy Dorsey

The first of a series of hubs to support the rollout of next-generation 5G mobile internet connectivity across the country is set to open in Forth Valley following a £4 million investment by the Scottish Government.

The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) will today launch its Connect program to enable businesses, organizations and people to take advantage of this new connectivity platform, which is currently in the early stages of rollout in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and a number of other cities across the country.

The first hub is located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, and is built on a partnership between the University of Stirling’s International Environment Centre and telecommunications company BT. It will initially focus on providing digital platforms that support job creation, skills programs and innovation support for SMEs, and research and development activities.

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Potential locations for additional hubs are currently under review, with further announcements expected during 2020 and 2021. Each of these hubs will focus on sectors relevant to their region and work with mobile operators and private network providers to accelerate regional 5G networks.

Energy Secretary Paul Wheelhouse will discuss the plans this morning during an online event with businesses, academic institutions and public sector organizations that have an interest in 5G.

“The 5G revolution represents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, and seizing those opportunities is especially important if we are to build economic recovery after the lockdown required to combat the Covid 19 virus,” he said.

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A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that the use of improved 4G and 5G connectivity could boost Scottish GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.

Launched in October 2019, the S5GC is a partnership between the University of Glasgow, the Scottish Futures Trust and the University of Strathclyde, which hosts the center. Led by executive director Paul Coffey, the goal is to bridge the gap between academia, industry and government agencies to accelerate 5G deployment.

“5G deployment has begun, but the technology is still nascent – and some of the new use cases are still a few years away,” Coffey said. “The S5GConnect hubs will play a key role in accelerating this process and making the potential of 5G a reality.”

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