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UK Government release guide for telecoms research, development and innovation funding and opportunities

Yesterday, 27 February, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology's (DSIT) Digital Infrastructure team released a telecoms research, development and innovation current funding and opportunities at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. techUK's Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy is on the ground at MWC and saw Minister Lopez make the announcement this morning.

Given the role of the Digital Infrastructure (DI) directorate in DSIT is to set policies to promote investment, protect national security, grow the UK telecoms system and run innovative programmes for the next generation of telecoms technology, this marks a welcome step for a clearer landscape of the current funding already out there.

A reminder that recent publications from the team include the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, published in 2023, which set out the UK government's long-term vision for 5G and other advanced wireless connectivity. The key ambition introduced through this strategy was introducing standalone 5G coverage to all UK-populated areas by 2050.

A further priority of the team includes maximising the overall value of spectrum use to the UK, and understanding that spectrum is pivotal to the developments in the digital economy, including 5G roll-out.

Finally, the government's 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy published in November 2020 and sets out a plan to deliver a healthy supply market for telecoms. The focus of this was removing barriers to diversification, investing in emerging telecoms technologies and working with like-minded countries to achieve the shared aim for secure and resilient telecoms supply chains. This included setting up the independent Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council.

Not to mention, telecoms identified as one of the five critical technologies to grow the UK economy, alongside AI, engineering

The Digital Infrastructure's RDI interventions supported by DSIT fall into four categories:

  1. Delivering better coverage, particularly to hard-to-reach areas
  2. Stimulating the adoption of 5G and demonstrating the benefits it can bring
  3. Diversifying the supplier base in the 5G Radio Access Network to boost the resilience of our network
  4. Building UK's capability to shape the next generation of communications network

This 20 or so page guide outlines the investment into research and development and innovation in Digital Infrastructure, 

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