The facility will focus on developing a range of 5G use cases, including smart health and smart transportation initiatives

The West Midlands is set to become a key technology hub for the UK, as the government announces the launch of a new 5G test bed facility in the area. 

The UK’s first multi-city test bed will be based in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton and will pave the way for nationwide rollout of next generation mobile networks. 

"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," said the UK’s Minister for Digital, Margot James. 

The project is set to receive an initial £50m of funding – with £25 million being provided by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and £25m coming from private investment. The project may also receive an additional £25m of funding from the government at a later stage. 

The testbed will focus on connected healthcare and connected transport initiatives, including a connected ambulance project that would look into providing remote medical support to paramedics on the ground, allowing lifesaving procedures to be carried out on site.   

The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said that the launch of the testbed would be hugely transformative for the region, creating a host of jobs and financial initiatives in the area.  

"This announcement is game-changing for the West Midlands economy. This will be the backbone of our future economy and society.

We have been working to put the foundations in place to grow the industries which will create the jobs of the future, particularly around driverless vehicles and life sciences where we have a genuine advantage. To deliver the future of these industries we need the power of 5G," he said. 

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