Scotland gains new 5G 'testbed' as roll-out of high-speed tech accelerates

A state-of-the-art testbed has been officially launched to help drive the adoption of 5G connectivity and grow the Scottish economy.

The new facility, based at ONE Tech Hub in Aberdeen, will allow businesses of all sizes to test and develop 5G applications and accelerate new digital services and operations in the region.

The Scotland 5G Centre announced the deployment of a new testbed in the North-east earlier this year to unlock the “transformational benefits” of the high-speed mobile technology for Scottish businesses, public sector organisations and local communities. The partnership is supported by Vodafone and its partner Ericsson with the mobile private network (MPN) being deployed in just eight weeks.

Scottish minister for business and enterprise, Ivan McKee, visited the site as part of this week’s launch. He was shown a remote training demonstration of an offshore wind farm using a robotic arm. It is hoped that the technology can offer new opportunities and capabilities for the energy industry.

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Visitors to the hub will be able to access support from the S5GConnect team and see first-hand the benefits of the live testbed.

The Scotland 5G Centre was set up in October 2019 as the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland.

Mark Hanson, the Centre’s non-executive director, said: “We’re excited to be launching the S5GConnect Hub in Aberdeen - providing a knowledge centre and test bed infrastructure for the surrounding community.

“5G technology is open for use not just by mobile network operators, but it allows businesses, government bodies and other organisations the opportunity to set up their own private 5G network - enabling secure, interference free, high speed, low latency wireless communications.

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Minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise Ivan McKee participating in 5G-enabled teleoperation demonstration.

“It’s one of the key technologies on which Scotland’s future digital economy will be built. We also look forward to working alongside our partners here in Aberdeen, Opportunity North East, Aberdeen City Council, the Innovation Centres including Censis and the DataLab and other agencies where we can work closely together to help deliver major transformation projects for the area.”

Karen O’Hanlon of Opportunity North East (ONE) said: “ONE Tech Hub is the anchor point for the region’s fast-growing tech community and home to a growing number of leading partner organisations connecting digital tech businesses with expertise and specialist technology to help them go further faster.

“The new Scotland 5G centre partnership and 5G testbed with onsite support will give businesses and tech developers the opportunity to work with expert advisors to demonstrate, develop and apply 5G connectivity in new applications and be part of the transformative 5G technology ecosystem to help accelerate growth.”

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McKee added: “Transformative 5G technology has the potential to revitalise businesses across the country and I congratulate those behind these innovative demonstrations.

“The new Aberdeen 5G Innovation Hub will help boost the economy and encourage entrepreneurship in the North-east, helping small and medium-sized enterprises with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business. I encourage the energy sector - locally and further afield - to take advantage of the technology.”

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