Government launches new body to make UK telecoms innovation leader
The government announced this morning that it will be creating a new body to make the UK “a world-leading centre for telecoms innovation”.
The UK Telecoms Innovation Network (UKTIN) will act as an information point for telecoms companies looking to access funding or testing facilities for R&D and opportunities to collaborate on developing new and improved technologies for UK mobile and broadband networks.
The government have also launched a competition for organisations to apply for up to £10m to establish and run the centre, which will support innovators at the right time to scale up, develop their products, gain better access to telecoms markets and drive exports abroad.
It comes as new independent figures from ThinkBroadband show that two-thirds of UK homes and businesses can now access lightning-fast gigabit broadband.
The UKTIN will be run by a consortium of organisations with telecoms expertise and will support knowledge sharing and collaboration on open and interoperable network technologies such as Open RAN, which allows telecoms companies to mix and match telecoms equipment rather than having to rely on a single supplier when building or maintaining networks.
The tech is considered crucial to the government’s £250m strategy to lower barriers for firms seeking to enter the UK telecoms supply chain – which will increase competition, drive up the quality of products and services and reduce the UK’s current reliance on a small number of international suppliers.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez commented on the announcement: “The UK Telecoms Innovation Network will be the first port of call for any telecoms company looking to access R&D funding and a matchmaker for firms looking to join forces on cutting-edge projects.
“Ultimately this is about making the UK the best place in the world to develop rapid and seamless new technology for the digital networks that will power our economy well into the 21st century.”
The UKTIN is expected to be up and running by the end of the year, with the winning consortium announced in the summer.