UK to make £1bn investment in fibre and 5G

23 Nov 2016

Investment in infrastructure will be key to a post-Brexit Britain. Image: S.Borisov/Shutterstock

In its autumn statement, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is making big bets on the digital future of Britain, including investments in driverless cars and some £1bn towards fibre and 5G.

The UK Chancellor, among a raft of measures designed to strengthen the UK economy post-Brexit, has revealed a new National Productivity Investment fund. This is being developed to provide £23bn of additional spending, covering everything from transport to communications and research and development (R&D).

The plan includes making £390m available to invest in the future of transport technology, such as driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy efficient transport.

This incorporates £100m going towards testing infrastructure for driverless cars, £150m to provide at least 550 new electric and hydrogen buses to reduce emissions from 1,500 existing buses, and support for taxis to become zero emission. It will also make £80m available to install more charging points for ultra-low emission vehicles.

There will be a two-year 100pc first-year allowance for companies that install electric charge points and £450m will also be spent on trialling railway digital signalling technology.

The UK’s fibre and 5G future

The UK autumn statement will see £1bn made available to invest in full-fibre broadband and trialling 5G networks.

From April 2017, the UK government will also provide a new 100pc business rate relief for full-fibre infrastructure over a five-year period.

It will also see a major increase in R&D funding for universities and businesses with R&D projects to help the UK remain an attractive place to invest in innovative research.

This will see scientific projects backed in the areas of robotics, artificial intelligence and industrial biotechnology.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years