The UK government has chosen the West Midlands to be the home of Britain's first 5G testbed.
In a multi-million pound trial, the new high-speed connectivity test will pave the way for the rollout of 5G across the UK, the government said.
It will also make the West Midlands the first in the UK to trial new 5G applications and services at scale.
Named the Urban Connected Communities Project, the project is the next step in the government's 5G Testbed and Trials Programme, and will eventually see the development of a large-scale, 5G pilot across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.
Up to £50m is being made available for the project, although the government said that this is "subject to further development and approval of the business plan". This includes £25m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and a further £25m match funding from regional partners.
"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 among the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring," said Minister for Digital, Margot James.
"The West Midlands Testbed, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, will be instrumental in helping us realise this ambition."
Following its selection through open competition, the West Midlands Combined Authority will now work with the 5G Testbeds and Trials Team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and industry partners on preparing the formal business case for approval, with the first of a series of projects expected to go live early next year.
The bid has an initial focus on the health, with its ambition to help drive economic growth and benefit people's lives "through participation in new digital technologies and digitally transformed public services".
Initial plans include hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations carried out remotely by video link, which thanks to 5G, would not be subject to droppage or latency barriers.
As well as being more convenient for patients, this means they could play back their appointment at a later date, or share it securely with a family member or carer to help inform their care.
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