THE COUNTY council will receive more than £3 million as part of a project to test how 5G technology can be used to deliver health and social care in rural areas.

Worcestershire County Council, which is one of the partners in the West Mercia Rural 5G project, has been awarded government funding in a bid to find innovative ways to use 5G networks in rural areas.

‘West Mercia Rural 5G’ will explore infrastructure challenges when planning, building and operating a rural 5G network and look at how 5G can enhance services for the benefit of residents, particularly researching 5G enabled health and social care applications.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced yesterday (February 20) it would be awarding £3.3 million to the county council to oversee the project.

The council will be joined by local NHS bodies, alongside Airband and Three – who will plan, build and operate the 5G network – and the University of Worcester.

Cllr Ken Pollock, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: “The council are delighted to have been successful in leading a bid which will investigate the positive impacts that emerging 5G technologies could have on rural communities, around how 5G networks can be built and their use in supporting health and social care services.

“The project highlights the huge joint ambitions of the innovative public and private sector partners we have drawn together, as we strive to find ways to improve connectivity and provide access to key services in rural areas.

“At a time of increasing demand for public services, improvements in connected technologies offer new ways of working that can help maintain and improve service delivery and quality of life for residents and businesses alike.”

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’re determined to make the UK a world-leader in 5G and deliver on our promise to improve connections for people and businesses across the country. We’re announcing new funding to seize the new opportunities this technology will offer us. This includes seeing how it could create new jobs in the countryside, make businesses more productive and unleash even more ideas in our cutting-edge creative industries.”