Switched on for the future! Leeds is aiming to pilot the country’s 5G mobile tech revolution

Harrison Woods, Ben Ziff, James Heath, Coun Judith Blake and Prof Adam Beaumont.
Harrison Woods, Ben Ziff, James Heath, Coun Judith Blake and Prof Adam Beaumont.

Leeds is set to strengthen its reputation as a digital trailblazer with a bid to become a pilot city for national trials of super-fast 5G mobile technology.

Leeds City Council confirmed details of its forthcoming bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) at a meeting in London attended by civic leaders and key figures from the tech industry.

Hailed as the “next generation” of mobile technology, 5G could eventually be used for everything from driverless cars to sending virtual reality 3D TV clips to phones.

But, given the complexity of future 5G systems, it is not yet clear how and where the networks will be deployed.

And so, as part of a push to make sure the UK is ready for the latest stage of the tech revolution, the DCMS is launching what it describes as a “new national programme of 5G testbeds and trials”.

Reasons cited by Leeds for its suitability to be a pilot city in that programme include the strength of its existing telecom networks and its impressive range of innovative companies and operators.

Speaking at the London event, Leeds council chief executive Tom Riordan said: “Leeds is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of the fantastic opportunities that 5G roll-out offers.

“Being a pilot city for 5G would enable Leeds to continue to build its digital infrastructure, leading to long-term economic growth and creating the best possible place for people to live, work and play.”

Other figures at the event, held at the London offices of law firm DWF, included council leader Coun Judith Blake and Prof Adam Beaumont, chief executive of Leeds-based communications platform aql.

Also in attendance were CitiPark’s Ben Ziff, YourParkingSpace’s Harrison Woods and James Heath, director for telecoms at the DCMS.