The European Space Agency (ESA) is moving to expand its 5G/6G UK hub, aiming to accelerate the 5G digital transformation of Europe. This was highlighted last month following its signing of a contract with specialist IT system provider CGI to deliver new facilities for its enlarged hub.
Director of Investment at the UK Space Agency Craig Brown remarked: “This is the first time that ESA has established a 5G/6G Hub in a member state, demonstrating the UK’s position as a world-leader in satellite telecommunications and establishing a flagship facility that will support further growth for this thriving sector.
Industry players involved in the project include satellite communications companies Eutelsat and OneWeb, and Vodafone UK, with the organisation reportedly setting its sights on further collaborations with players in the industry.
Head of ESA’s 5G-6G programme Antonio Franchi said: “collaboration is key to telecommunications innovation and this project will consolidate the hub’s position as a focal point for the establishment of new partnerships, both within Europe and globally”.
The expansion is set to increase the footprint of the hub’s dedicated networks and aid the development of enhanced satellite services; edge computing, multi-network and multi-orbit orchestration; and ease use of the connectivity systems. This comes mere weeks before the ESA and UK Space Agency announced a contract with ASIC to develop a new chip for the next-gen of mass market satellite broadband user terminals.
The Harwell campus site, opened in 2022, currently provides facilities for third parties to experiment with connectivity services provided from satellites, including how this technology can be integrated into mobile operator offerings. As it stands, the lab currently consists of a technical lab which
President of CGI UK and Australia Tara McGeehan said: “ESA’s 5G/6G Hub enables cross-industry collaboration that will help deliver the UK’s National Space Strategy. CGI is committed to helping our clients in the telecommunications industry integrate satellite technology in their networks and bring better and environmentally sustainable services to their customers.
The UK Space Agency began a call for applications under the ARTES Telecoms Space for 5G & 6G Strategic Programme Line, titled “Connecting People” days after the announcement went public.
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