The UK government set a target of standalone 5G availability in all populated areas of the country by 2030 as part of its latest digital strategy, which also pledges £100 million for 6G research and commits to satellite broadband funding.

In the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, unveiled today (11 April), it outlined various measures intended to aid the improvement of digital connectivity across the country.

Funding announced comprises: £100 million for 6G research; £40 million for a 5G innovation fund designed to promote investment and adoption of the technology; and £8 million to deliver broadband for up to 35,000 properties deemed the “most remote” using satellite technology.

Cash allocated for 6G, it hopes, will allow the UK to “shape and drive early-stage research” into the next generation of wireless technology and influence global standard setting.

In a statement the government body noted 77 per cent of the population currently had access to “basic 5G” from at least one provider, but outlined an ambition to “blanket the country” with standalone 5G moving forward.

This, it claims, will make significant changes to businesses and consumers, citing the potential for driverless vehicles, factory robots and smart city applications.

Timed to coincide with the announcement, UK government-backed satellite provider OneWeb revealed it would undertake two trials for the remote connectivity part of the strategy with partners BT and Clarus.

The trials will see the delivery of connectivity to properties on the Shetland Islands and Lundy Island from its LEO fleet.

Spectrum strategy
Alongside the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, UK authorities released a document outlining an updated spectrum strategy, which includes how policies in this area can aid 5G ambitions.

Work detailed includes discussions with regulator Ofcom on shared access licence band licensing and measures to “create an environment that supports commercial investment in 5G and advanced wireless connectivity”.

The wide-scope of the strategy also covers future public sector spectrum use, related policy for space sector ambitions and measures aiding net zero goals.