City to become new 5G testing ground

24 May 2019

Written by: Kristian Bouboukis

The city will act as a testing ground for the 5G network ahead of its 2020 launch.

The City of Melbourne is working alongside some of Australia’s biggest telecommunications companies, to turn the city into a testing ground for the upcoming 5G mobile network, as well as additional Internet of Things devices.

Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood said that Melbourne is the first city in Australia to test the network, and will help facilitate the launch of 5G in March 2020. The test will help Melbourne how to incorporate 5G and IoT features in a way that benefits our society.

“5G will bring increased data speeds, better coverage, better connections and the ability for more devices to use the network at once,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

“Through this testbed we want to work closely with telecommunication providers and technology companies to explore the capabilities of 5G and how it enables emerging technologies.

“It’s an opportunity to bring together the best minds to plan for the future, understand the challenges our cities face while delivering for our rapidly growing population.”

The Melbourne Innovation District, located in the city’s north (near the State Library and the Royal Exhibition Building), has been chosen as the site of the trial. The testbed’s partners will be tasked with finding where 5G and IoT infrastructure should be located, as well as creating protocols for data sharing, management, privacy and security.

Effectively, the trial will help the City of Melbourne council to adapt 5G and IoT models into our businesses and everyday life.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us to have hands on experience with the future of high-speed connectivity,” Deputy Lord Mayor Wood said.

The first emerging technologies testbed partners will be announced during Melbourne Knowledge Week 2019.

5G is the next phase of our mobile network, which will offer speeds faster than what our current NBN speeds can offer.

IoT refers to our increasing reliance on everyday items which can access the internet, such as TVs, fridges and smartwatches. With more devices becoming internet ready, the tests are designed to make sure Melbourne’s infrastructure is sufficient enough to power our everyday activities.

Telcos have spent $853 million on preparing Australia for the 5G network, in a bid to be ready when the network’s licenses launch in March 2020.

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