The latest papers for the Isle of Wight Council (IWC) Cabinet reveal that a bid has been submitted for the Isle of Wight to become a test bed for 5G mobile communications.
5G? What’s that?
Most of the population will be familiar with 4G. Well, 5G is the next development in mobile data.
In short, it’s fast. 5G will have average speeds of 100Mbps. That’s loads faster than your BT home broadband connection – but it’s while you’re mobile. It’s expected to roll-out to the rest of the UK in 2020.
For a more full explanation, we refer to a report from the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission:
“5G means seamless connectivity. Ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, ultra-high capacity transmitting at super low latency. It will support the ever larger data requirements of the existing network and new applications from augmented reality to connected vehicles and the Internet of Things, and many more, as unknowable today as the 4G services we take for granted would have been a decade ago.”
The council’s performance and finance report for quarter ended September 2017 states:
An Island bid to become a test bed for 5G mobile communications has been submitted in Dec 2017 and a bid for the UK government Local Full Fibre programme is being prepared for the end Jan 2018 deadline.
Benefits of a trial
A trial like this would make perfect sense to the technology companies and Government. There are few other places in the UK where tests could be conducted like this without ‘bleed’ into other areas – as we’re surrounded by the Solent.
A trial on the Island would be fantastic news for those who rely on data packages on their mobile phone for Internet access as well as for those areas that already struggle to get 3G, let alone 4 or 5G.
Alongside Gigabit Island, this news is another great step towards the Isle of Wight becoming a well connected for business and individuals.
Response from Isle of Wight Council
Isle of Wight council has, after seven days, finally responded to our simple enquiry
“Following the successful digital conference held in November 2017 the council has been supporting a consortium of organisations on the Isle of Wight to bid for funding from the government’s 5G test bed programme.
“If selected, the trials can support testing of a wide range of industry applications but will initially focus on how 5G services can enable better health and social care in a population of higher than average age.
“These services could include high quality, yet cost saving services like video consultancy in remote locations and contribute to telehealth initiatives, where people can be treated in their own homes.”
Update 16 Jan 2018: Added response from IWC
OnTheWight has requested more info from the IWC and will update once we hear back.