Chancellor Philip Hammond recently announced in the Autumn Budget that the Government will commit £500m to 5G, artificial intelligence and full-fibre broadband.
About £160m of this investment will aid in developing nation-wide 5G networks. This amount is in addition to the £16m that the Chancellor committed in the Spring Budget for an “innovation network” to collaborate with three research institutions – the University of Bristol, the University of Surrey and King’s College London.
The Autumn Budget committed funding and supporting innovative regulatory changes and setting up a geo-spacial data commission that will use the Government’s geographic data to spearhead economic growth.
The Chancellor said: “A new tech business is founded in Britain every hour, and I want that to be every half hour, so today we invest over £500m in a range of initiative from artificial intelligence to 5G and full-fibre broadband. We’ll support regulatory innovation with a new regulators pioneer fund and a new geo-spacial data commission to develop a strategy for using the Gov’s location data to support economic growth and to help our tech start-ups reach scale.”
Mark Evans, O2’s CEO, said that the announcement was welcome but also observed that there is a need for more collaboration between private operator companies to realise the UK’s 5G potential. O2’s research found that, by 2026, this would add £7bn to the economy.
Evans added: “We need a framework that facilitates the efficient and effective deployment of improved mobile networks, which will deliver a better-connected experience for everyone. Only then we will be able to become a world-leading digital economy.”