The UK government unveiled a new £30 million scheme to fund 5G trials in various industries, adding to an existing £35 million programme to stimulate innovation in delivering next generation services to rural areas and industry.

Unveiled today (20 February), 5G Create is an open competition focused on delivering innovations in industries including film, TV, video games, logistics and tourism. In a statement, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) explained the contest will run from early March to end-June and add to a related contest covering rural innovations.

UK Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden explained the funding aimed to help the country “seize the new opportunities” 5G will offer, including “seeing how it could create new jobs in the countryside, make businesses more productive and unleash even more ideas in our cutting-edge creative industries”.

The DCMS noted the programmes add to a broader £200 million investment in 5G testbeds and trials to explore ways in which the technology could “boost business growth and productivity, improve the lives of people in rural areas and maximise the productivity benefits of new technologies”.

In 2019, the government announced a £30 million pot for seven 5G projects to connect rural areas with a further £5 million for testing the benefits of the technology in the manufacturing sector.

The DCMS added the trial programmes would also “support the government’s ambition to diversify the supply chain for digital infrastructure” in the country, adding none of the winners from 5G Create “will use equipment from high-risk vendors”.

Several news outlets reported this means Huawei had been locked out of participating in the 5G projects as the government continues to monitor the Chinese vendor’s security credentials.

In January, the government ruled Huawei equipment would not be used in core 5G networks, but cleared it for use in non-sensitive parts, albeit with restrictions.