The government has selected the West Midlands as the UK’s first multi-city testing area for 5G infrastructure.
Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton will each receive a share of up to £50m in government funding made available through the government’s urban connected communities project.
The test is the next stage of development after the first tests on the new high speed connectivity were trialled in the West Midlands in March.
Andy Street (Con), West Midlands CA mayor, said: “The potential of this technology is endless – and we will enjoy the benefits first.
“From monitoring the health of babies and the elderly, to the way our people are linked to the economy of the future, the way companies do business, the way we deliver public services, the experience of travellers on public transport and the way we deliver City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games – everything can be made better thanks to the power of this technology.”
West Midlands CA will now work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to prepare and monitor the first of a series of projects due to be implemented early next year.
If formally approved, planned projects include conducting hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations by video link; video conferencing for paramedic crews at incidents with hospital consultants or other clinical specialists; and the live-streaming of public transport CCTV footage, enabling immediate action against anti-social behaviour.
Digital minister Margot James said: “5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring.
“The West Midlands testbed, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, will be instrumental in helping us realise this ambition.”