Ayrshire has been named as a ‘5G Innovation Region’ after seeing off stiff competition from across the UK to secure £3.8 million of UK Government funding.

The area is just one of two in Scotland to be successful in the bidding process that will see regions transformed with new cutting-edge 5G and advanced wireless technologies.

The three Ayrshire councils teamed up with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Ayrshire College, the Scotland 5G Centre and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland to deliver their joint bid to the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

After being confirmed as one of ten ‘5G Innovation Regions’ in the UK, the team will use the funding to build on technologies at three of the key strategic Ayrshire Growth Deal sites.

It's hoped that the Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) innovation hub, located at HALO in Kilmarnock, will serve as a catalyst for 5G innovation where testing can happen in a 5G private network environment.

The other three sites are:

· Digital Processing Manufacturing Centre (DPMC) at i3 Enterprise Area in Irvine

· Aerospace Innovation Hub, Prestwick International Aerospace Park

· Ayrshire Innovation Park, Moorfield, Kilmarnock

Councillor Marie Burns, leader of North Ayrshire Council and chair of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee, said: “This is fantastic news for Ayrshire and a real coup for the area.

"There were dozens of applicants for this funding so it is testament to our bid and the work we are doing that we were successful.

“We have been working collaboratively with partners for a number of years and digital innovation is very much at the heart of what we do.

“This initiative will bring startups, industry, and academia together with sustainability and Net Zero at its core.

“Strategic partnerships with the Scotland 5G Centre, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, University of the West of Scotland, Ayrshire College, and other key institutions underscore our initiative.”

Sir John Whittingdale, the UK Government's data and digital infrastructure minister, said: "We’re channelling millions into local areas to unlock the potential of cutting-edge 5G wireless and digital technologies which will reshape our public services, drive economic growth and boost innovation.

"This new fund will give local areas from across the country the opportunity to be at the forefront of Britain’s world-leading 5G revolution.

“For instance, by using 5G for farming and creating science parks, we're not just helping local communities, but also encouraging new ideas all over the UK.

"This is more than just linking smartphones. It's about using powerful digital connections to transform various sectors in the economy and the public sector throughout the entire country.”

Professor James Miller, principal and vice-chancellor at UWS, added: "As a placemaking university with a firm commitment to our communities, the University of the West of Scotland welcomes today’s announcement, and is looking forward to continuing its role in aligning regional economic partnerships with innovation, resulting in a big win for Ayrshire.”

The Ayrshire 5G team hopes to confirm a network provider in the coming weeks.