The United Kingdom Government is getting serious about 5G.
U.K. officials this week announced the government’s plan to invest a total of $1.24 billion (1 billion British pounds) in support of 5G trials and the private sector’s fiber broadband rollout.
Around $920 million (740 million pounds) has been earmarked for 5G and fiber investment, with investments to begin with 25 million pounds in 2017 and ramp to 275 million pounds and 290 million pounds in 2019 and 2020, respectively. An additional 400 million pounds of government funding – which is expected to be matched by private finance – will be put toward the establishment of a new Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund to invest in fiber networks over the next four years, officials said.
Starting in April, the government said it would also provide 100 percent business rates relief for new full-fiber infrastructure. That relief is expected to extend for a five-year period.
“Our future transport, business and lifestyle needs will require world class digital infrastructure to underpin them. So my ambition is for the UK to be a world leader in 5G. That means a full-fibre network; a step-change in speed, security and reliability,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said in a speech delivered before Parliament this week. “We have chosen to borrow to kick-start a transformation in infrastructure and innovation investment.”
The move comes as governments across the globe have begun taking steps to prepare for a 5G future.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to open nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for 5G, including 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz.