Testbed for super-fast 5G internet launches in Brighton

A 5G testbed launched at Fusebox in New England House on Wednesday (September 26), and will allow Brighton's digital businesses to test out the latest ultra-fast internet technology.

5G allows for new forms of previously impossible mobile content
5G allows for new forms of previously impossible mobile content

This comes ahead of the 2020 UK roll-out of the new fifth generation mobile network, which is said to be 100 times faster than its predecessor 4G.

The testbed will allow Brighton-based businesses to benefit from state-of-the-art 5G mobile wireless communications, and provide space to explore the potential new applications of 5G.

The 5G testbed could be used to create immersive tech like virtual reality

5G is set to offer 'a significant opportunity' for the UK in bringing together the worlds of mobile and internet, helping to increase speed and improve bandwidth, and 'presenting huge opportunities' for businesses and consumers.

A spokesperson for the testbed said: "It has the potential to open up a range of new possibilities; support for autonomous cars, better support for the application of Internet of Things in healthcare, logistics, manufacturing, and support for more interactive and new models of content creation and consumption of media.

"5G will also allow mobile communications to underpin digital transformation of economic activity in the same way that it underpinned the digital transformation enabled by the roll out of 4G."

It will be run by technology innovation centre Digital Catapult, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Wired Sussex and the University of Brighton.

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult, said: “The 5G Brighton testbed lets companies experiment with new applications and services which take advantage of the unique nature of 5G.

This is a major step forward in the wider roll out of this advanced technology, helping take the technology out of university labs and into the market.

“5G represents more than just faster internet on the move, it’s the first mobile technology that, by design, enables free standing setup in individual locations, offers new companies the opportunity to control their own networks, and enables operators to manage computing at the edge as a new business model for the future.”

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said it will ‘provide the opportunity for bright ideas to flourish, demonstrating the potential of creative and digital sectors in Brighton’.

Simon Campbell, group IT director at Ricardo, the global engineering and environment consultancy which will be amongst the first to use the 5G testbed, said: “Innovation and technology are at the heart of Ricardo’s business, so we are excited by the arrival of 5G technology in the Greater Brighton area. We look forward to engaging with the 5G testbed and continuing our collaboration with the innovative companies that Fusebox attracts and supports.”

Sophie Dixon, co-founder of Mnemoscene which creates immersive experiences, said: “Mnemoscene is excited to be given the opportunity to develop the use case for 5G at the testbed. There are many dynamic startups like ours in Brighton and this testbed gives us a real opportunity to innovate using this potentially groundbreaking and disruptive technology.”

Coast to Capital said the testbed would play a vital part in its economic plan for the region.

Jonathan Sharrock, chief executive at Coast to Capital, said: “We are thrilled to have contributed Local Growth Funding towards the 5G Brighton project which is crucial to development key digital sectors in Brighton and the wider region as identified in our Strategic Economic Plan ‘Gatwick 360’.

"This project enables a number of our strategic priorities to progress including innovation and improving digital network capability. We look forward to working with partners to ensure that our area is well equipped to be at the forefront of emerging technologies and uphold our reputation as a great place to live, work and succeed.”