Press Release

The Scotland 5G Centre has made two significant new appointments to lead the recently created organisation.

Julie Snell has been appointed as Chair having recently concluded her role as CEO and Director of Bristol is Open, the city’s smart infrastructure and computer network company. In February 2019, Julie was named one of the UK’s top smart city leaders.

Paul Coffey is taking up the role of CEO. As a highly experienced telecommunications expert, Paul will lead the centre on to its next, exciting stage of delivery.

Paul brings extensive industry experience to the Scotland 5G Centre, having established his own consultancy practice and previously worked at EE, where he played a key role in establishing the UK’s first deployment of 4G services in rural communities. He is passionate about mobile telecommunications and delivering socio-economic benefit to a broad range of stakeholders, enabling digital connectivity.

The Scotland 5G Centre was set up in October 2019 to accelerate the adoption of 5G and realise its economic and societal potential for Scotland. Last year, a study by Deloitte estimated that significant changes to wireless technologies in Scotland, including revolutionary 5G networks, could increase GDP by more than £17 billion – equivalent to 8.3% of the country’s total economic output – and create an additional 160,000 new jobs by 2035.

Julie said: “Scotland is in a unique position to create a country-wide platform of great 5G use cases that can prove the commercial viability of 5G products and services from rural, coastal and city areas. The Scotland 5G Centre will create a central focus point for everything 5G in Scotland. It has an incredibly important role to play in consolidating and strengthening what is happening across the country, with the support of the Scottish Government.

“The Covid19 pandemic has shown us how important it is to ensure everyone has access to good quality connectivity. Business, healthcare and education, amongst others, are all having to adapt to more digital ways of working. For me, innovation should improve the quality of people’s lives – particularly technology that focuses on the end user and can engage all diverse groups into the digital world.

“One of my key focus areas will be to support inward investment in 5G technology into Scotland, working with government bodies, companies and academic institutions to explore new opportunities. As the centre moves to its next phase, I am excited to be working with Paul and the wider 5G community to build on their progress and explore wider opportunities for Scotland.”

Paul commented: “Scotland is in a great position to harness the potential of 5G to enable new industries and inject new innovation into the value chain. The centre brings together academics, businesses and government allowing people access to expertise that can benefit their organisations and prepare them for the possible. It will also enable rapid development and innovation utilising cutting-edge technology in a safe environment, supporting businesses to develop, share and ultimately succeed.

“5G is very different to what has come before and will underpin many of the use cases that define how we communicate in the future. The Scotland 5G Centre will be the foundation that enables Scotland to become a global 5G leader, accelerating and enhancing infrastructure deployment, supporting the development of new propositions and offerings, and brokering relationships.

“5G opens up many exciting opportunities and has the potential to deliver significant value to people across Scotland – I look forward to making sure the Scotland 5G Centre plays its part in making that happen.”

Scotland’s Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “I look forward to working with Julie and Paul as they take up their leadership roles to develop and implement the Scotland 5G Centre and its aims. Digital connectivity is at the heart of Scotland’s economy and communities – the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted just how vital it is for all of us.

“The Scottish Government is investing £5.3m in the Scotland 5G Centre to take forward our 5G strategy, to accelerate the adoption of 5G – particularly in key areas such as healthcare, energy and transport – and to realise its economic and social potential for Scotland. The roles that Julie and Paul will undertake will be key to achieving this and I look forward to engaging closely with them.”