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National Physical Laboratory to manage UK’s new telecoms lab

Julia Lopez MP DCMS.jpg

The new UK Telecoms Lab, which is being set up in a suburb of Birmingham, will operated by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) on behalf of the government.

The lab has funding of £80 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and is intended to boost the security, resilience and performance of the UK’s telecommunication networks, said the government.

Digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez (pictured) said: “We are determined to harness the power of ultrafast, seamless 5G connectivity to boost economic productivity and close the digital divide. With 6G on the horizon, our £80 million investment in this state-of-art lab will maximise the innovation, security and resilience of these revolutionary digital networks.”

Only two weeks ago Lopez announced that the UK is linking with Australia, Canada and the US, four of the so-called “five eyes” that created an intelligence-sharing partnership towards the end of World War Two, on initiatives for 5G and 6G network security.

She said of the Solihull/NPL initiative: “It will help turn Solihull into a leading destination for telecoms R&D – unlocking jobs and growth right across the West Midlands.”

Solihull is 10km south-east of the centre of Birmingham in the West Midlands of England. It was the birthplace of the Land Rover car brand, and the Triumph motorbike factory and the Lucas car components company were both based in the borough.

Peter Thompson, CEO of NPL, said the agreement was “the culmination of four years of engagement across government, academia and industry to understand the needs of the UK telecoms sector”.

He added: “Through the UK Telecoms Lab we will place the UK at the forefront of new technologies, injecting innovation, supporting invention and providing the platform for implementation to deliver impact from science for our national security and economic growth.”

The NPL, which is based in west London, was where Alan Turing built the Advanced Computing Engine in the late 1940s, after his secret code-breaking work at Bletchley Park during World War Two.