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Funding to boost 5G take-up “could be a gamechanger for Suffolk”

An initiative aimed at boosting business awareness of 5G mobile technology and speeding up the rollout of the most advanced communications infrastructure across Suffolk goes live in May.

For the last 18 months, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been tracking business awareness and take-up of 5G technologies and hosted a summit last year involving the mobile operators, council leaders, MPs and businesses.

5G represents a generational advance over 4G technology as it provides not only advanced data and voice connectivity but is the key platform for the ‘internet of things’ and other advanced automation systems.

Prompted by evidence from Suffolk Chamber that the county had a significant opportunity to gain competitive advantage through persuading mobile operators that the county was ready to see more investment in the required infrastructure, the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders’ Group (SPSLG) agreed to fund a Suffolk Business Digital Champions Group to oversee this work for the next three years.

The Group comprises businesses from a range of sectors and of different sizes, as well as council representatives and Mobile UK, the trade body for the operators.

The chair will be Sarah Steels, chief transformation officer at the East of England Co-operative, who recently oversaw the successful launch of the company’s first 5G-enabled store in Chelmsford.

Sara explained: "As a proud member of Suffolk's business community, The East of England Co-operative are deeply committed to the advancement and widespread adoption of 5G technology across the region.

“We believe that the strategic investment in 5G infrastructure is not just an upgrade to our communications network; it's a pivotal step towards unlocking unprecedented levels of efficiency, innovation, and connectivity. This technology stands to revolutionise how we operate, enabling smarter, faster decision-making and opening up new opportunities for growth.”

Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of public affairs added: “In essence, the Group seeks to boost business awareness of the productivity gains to be had from 5G technologies, speed up the rollout of the necessary infrastructure, especially in rural areas and along the A14 Growth Corridor, improve the strategic relationships between mobile operators and planning authorities and provide local politicians with up-to-date information about the business and wider community benefits. It could be a gamechanger for Suffolk.”

Gareth Elliott, Mobile UK’s director of policy and communications added: "The creation of the Suffolk Business Digital Champions Group is a welcome development. This group will be key in building business awareness of the latest mobile technologies and the business opportunities they unlock."

A spokesperson for SPSL said: “Suffolk Public Sector Leaders whole heartedly supports the introduction of 5G, fifth-generation wireless technology, to Suffolk.

“This technology will provide faster and more reliable wireless communication, offer significantly higher data transfer speeds, and fundamentally supports Suffolk in its ambitious economic growth plans.

“If Suffolk is going to attract investors and businesses to the region, we must be able to better support connectivity.”

Suffolk Business Digital Champions Group

The Suffolk Business Digital Champions group will build on the achievements of the Suffolk system in boosting broadband and 4G coverage by championing and helping to co-ordinate the determinants of an effective 5G rollout.

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Suffolk Chamber

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