Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance
Digital Environment

£3m boost for tech projects in Greater Manchester through 5G Innovation Regions fund

  • Greater Manchester secures £3 million through Government’s 5G Innovation Regions competition
  • Funding will support innovative projects across the city-region helping to accelerate decarbonisation and improve quality of life
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority will work with councils alongside housing and industry partners to invest in local projects

Greater Manchester has secured £3 million in funding for innovative tech projects across the city region aimed at cutting carbon emissions and improving residents’ quality of life.

The funding comes from the Department for Science, Innovation Technology’s 5G Innovation Regions competition, and will be invested in the Greater Manchester 5G SMART Decarbonisation Network project. The project will focus on how partners across the city-region can tackle the drivers of climate breakdown at a city-region level by accelerating decarbonisation, improving quality of life, and growing the Green Technologies and Services sector. 

The project will connect hundreds of existing air source heat pumps across Greater Manchester’s social housing settings using 5G technology, accelerating the creation of Smart Energy Grids. A smart energy grid, is an advanced electrical grid system that uses information connectivity and tech to efficiently manage local generation, distribution, and use of electricity, aiming to modernise traditional infrastructure, making it more efficient and adaptive to meet the needs of our people and businesses. These grids will deliver benefits for residents, industry and public services, aligning with Greater Manchester’s Local Area Energy Plan, helping to reduce costs for residents and housing providers while cutting harmful emissions.

Co-located on the same 5G network, a Digital Roads network environment will be piloted, aiming to reduce congestion and carbon emissions and prioritise traffic flow such as public transport in a quicker, more efficient way, reducing the amount of stationary traffic.

The legacy of this work is intended to be a social housing focussed model where more initiatives can be tested such as in building management, education, mould detection, and health-at-home, before being scaled wider across Greater Manchester. 

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will act as lead partner in the project, working closely with Wigan Council, Manchester City Council, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester City Council Housing Services (formerly Northwards Housing), and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), alongside a range of industry partners.

Cllr Nick Peel, Greater Manchester Lead for Digital, said: “5G can transform our public services and grow the economy, making our workplaces more productive and creating better paid jobs. Evidence shows the most significant economic benefits from 5G will come from widespread adoption of advanced 5G by industrial sectors, including manufacturing and logistics and by public services.

“To deliver this we will utilise existing infrastructure such as Greater Manchester’s Local Full Fibre Network and industry expertise, academia and the regions’ cyber security sector, ensuring that everyone in our city-region, whatever their age, location or situation, can safely access and benefit from the opportunities digital brings.”  

DSIT is awarding more than £36 million to regions across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The successful 5G Innovation Regions will lead on delivering the Government’s vision for communities across the UK to take full advantage of the transformative effect that advanced wireless connectivity and digital technologies can provide - part of our wider ambition to drive telecoms innovation, ensuring more secure and resilient networks and a more diverse and competitive supply chain.

Minister of Data and Digital Infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said: "We’re channelling millions into local areas to unlock the potential of cutting-edge 5G wireless and digital technologies which will reshape our public services, drive economic growth and boost innovation. This new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.

“For instance, by using 5G for farming and creating science parks, we're not just helping local communities, but also encouraging new ideas all over the UK. This is more than just linking smartphones. It's about using powerful digital connections to transform various sectors in the economy and the public sector throughout the entire country.”

The programme aims to drive innovative applications powered by 5G from proof of concept to widespread adoption. Innovation regions will demonstrate and adopt 5G and other advanced wireless use cases across key sectors of the economy. They will also demonstrate the scalability, replicability, and sustainability of use cases, and disseminate project learnings and benefits.

The programme supports the implementation of Government’s UK Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, which sets out a clear vision for how advanced wireless infrastructure can become an integral part of the fabric of the UK's economy and society by 2030. It is our ambition that people, business and public services across the UK are able to realise the full benefits of 5G and other forms of advanced wireless connectivity as soon as possible

Read more on the ten winning multi-local authority that will receive a share of £36 million as they become 5G Innovation Regions (external website)

Article Published: 16/11/2023 13:37 PM