Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has been awarded £3 million from the UK government to provide a boost to 5G enabled innovation in the city-region.

The city-region is among 10 local authority areas across the UK, and one of only three in the North of England, to receive of a share of £36 million funding to boost digital connectivity and drive the development and adoption of 5G and other advanced wireless technologies.

GMCA will receive over £3 million to become a 5G Innovation Region, and will invest some of the funding to allow hundreds of air source heat pumps across social housing in Greater Manchester to make use of 5G connections. Through the creation of Smart Energy Grids, residents, industry and public services will be able to better monitor energy use and save money on bills.

The 5G Innovation Region programme forms part of the UK’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy and aims to boost innovation in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, transport, agriculture, creative industries, and public services, helping to create better-connected places across the UK. Projects also aim to stimulate wider demand for 5G connectivity, which has estimated productivity benefits of £159 billion by 2035.

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.”

Nick Johnson, Head of the UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) said: 

“We’re thrilled to see the recipients of the 5G Innovation Regions fund encompassing a broad range of places across the country, helping to boost the adoption of advanced communication technologies across a range of vertical sectors. 

“While this is fantastic news for the ten regions chosen, UKTIN will play a pivotal role in taking their innovations and learnings to the whole of the UK.  

“We will collaborate with successful regions to overcome adoption hurdles and deliver best practice and insights to communities across the country, so that all regions and nations can benefit from the lessons being learned through both 5G Innovation Regions and other relevant initiatives.”