A new 5G broadband scheme is tailor-made for Aberdeen according to a city councillor and a bid should go in soon for the contract.
The UK Government has opened bidding for a multi-million pilot scheme for 5G technology, which aims to bring broadband-equivalent download speeds over mobile networks to pave the way for a UK-wide roll-out.
The Urban Connected Communities Project is aimed at city regions with a population of about 500,000 – handily the size of the Aberdeen City Region.
Aberdeen City Council city growth and resources committee convener Douglas Lumsden said the city’s size combined with its recent fibre announcements would put Aberdeen in a very good position for the contract.
“They are looking for a place the size of Aberdeen so we will be making our case very loudly,” said Cllr Lumsden.
“This is tailor-made for Aberdeen, building on work we have already been doing around this.
“Over the last few months we have already made a huge investment in the city’s digital infrastructure, leading to Aberdeen becoming the first gigabit city in Scotland. The 5G pilot would build on that.
“It’s not just about the technology but the image it creates because we want Aberdeen to be known for being at the leading edge of these technologies.
“We will definitely be doing all we can to make sure we are one of the six cities taking part across the UK.”
UK Government Digital Minister Margot James said the trial could include live video streaming and remote treatment by doctors and health professionals, traffic management to prevent jams, and using virtual reality to boost tourism.
She said: “Trialling 5G at scale across an entire city is a chance to prove the economic benefits predicted from this new technology, test different methods of deployment and boost the connectivity of ordinary people working and living there.”
Lead UK5G technology partner Robert Driver, Cambridge Wireless chief executive, said he was delighted to see the government open bids for ambitious pilots.
“This, along with the other projects being funded, will accelerate the development and adoption of 5G in the UK,” he said.
Winners are expected to be announced in summer this year.
The urban project will be followed in the summer by a large-scale Rural Connected Communities Project.