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UK government to pledge £1.1 billion for full fibre and 5G rollout

UK chancellor Philip Hammond is to announce that local authorities will be allowed to bid for part of a £740 million fund to trial super-fast 5G mobile networks in his Autumn Statement.

The statement is set to be announced in full on Wednesday, where the chancellor will lay out plans for the new 5G rollout and more “fibre-to-the-property” broadband.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any launch date for the new 5G networks at this point.

5G is used to describe the upcoming fifth generation of mobile network technology, and doesn’t yet relate to a particular type of technology.

Related: What is 5G?

At this point, there’s been no publicly agreed upon standard for 5G networks – unlike 4G, which has become synonymous with LTE.

The new standard will increase data transfer speeds, improve response times, and increase capacity to enable internet of things (IoT) devices to operate properly.

At this moment, the consensus seems to be that we could have a limited 5G network up and running by 2020 in the UK.

As well as the new 5G fund, Mr Hammond will also back a £400 million digital infrastructure fund to help fibre broadband providers to expand and boost broadband speeds around the country.

Private sector investors are expected to match the fund, which is aimed at increasing access to “full-fibre” connections in the UK.

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As the BBC reports, Mr Hammond will emphasise the need for the UK to provide “fibre-to-the-property” broadband, rather than fibre to the roadside cabinet.

At this moment, only 2% of the population has access to this super-fast internet, while countries such as South Korea, China and Japan have pushed ahead more quickly with plans to introduce fast broadband and mobile networks.

In the UK, some independent broadband providers such as Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and B4RN already provide full-fibre connections, but these are limited to thousands of customers, rather than millions.

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