UK aims to speed up Northern Powerhouse with 5G scheme

- Manchester, UK
UK aims to speed up Northern Powerhouse with 5G scheme

The UK government has called for information from experts in the application of 5G to help with the introduction of “reliable and uninterrupted” connections on trains in the north of England.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) lodged the request as part of what it called an exploration into what the superfast internet technology could bring to the transport industry. The TransPennine Initiative (TPI) is a key component of the UK government’s Northern Powerhouse plans to address the balance between the economies in the north and south of England.

The new scheme aims to test ways of introducing rapid internet speeds on trains using trackside infrastructure and addressing issues related to access, processes and costs. DCMS will use the findings from the trial to provide information that will identify constraints and concerns that could prevent the introduction of 5G.

Opening up the initiative to companies of all sizes, DCMS said that those selected to take part in the trial will be able to deploy their equipment without having to invest in trackside infrastructure, and are likely to receive financial support for installation activities on the TPI pilot route. The three specific objectives of TPI are to trial high capacity fibre to premises using Network Rail’s assets between Manchester and York; to provide high-speed connectivity on the train between Manchester and Leeds; and to create a 5G test bed at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation Development Centre in the Midlands. The closing date for comments have to be submitted by 14th September 2018.

Margot James, the minister of state for DCMS said: “The importance of fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity on our rail network is only going to increase. Projects like the Trans Pennine Initiative will be instrumental in delivering this for passengers, and are all part of our commitment to make the UK a world leader in 5G.”

SmartRail World reported late last year that Japan successfully tested 5G on a moving train that achieved download speeds of 1.7gps, speeds normally the preserve of home or office environments. The trial was carried out following a partnership between KDDI and Samsung and enabled users to download 8K video (the current highest resolution video available) using the train’s on-board router, while footage from a 4K video mounted on the train was also uploaded.

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