A 5G trial in Gwent will receive £5m in UK Government funding to connect rural communities across the region.

CoCore, a 5G testbed in south east Wales, will help rural communities in Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent “open up new opportunities for businesses and citizens” in order to “level up infrastructure across the UK”, the Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced yesterday.

The project, which is part of a £65 million package that aims to improve connectivity in Britain’s rural communities, will also drive the adoption of new technologies such as driverless cars, remote healthcare and smart devices.

The national project is made up of the government’s rural and industrial 5G competitions, including a Rural Connected Communities competition for nine 5G research projects, and a new 5G Create competition, which has been launched to develop new uses for 5G in industry.

“We’re determined that towns and villages in Wales aren’t left behind and get the world-class connectivity they need to flourish,” said Mr Dowden.

“With £5 million of UK funding, CoCore will prove that rural Welsh communities can harness the power of revolutionary 5G technology to transform rural businesses like agriculture, improve the way public services are delivered and tackle loneliness."

5G has speeds up to ten times faster than 4G and will greatly increase mobile capacity across the UK, meaning more people will be able to get online and find and download the content they want, without dealing with a poor connection.

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Today’s announcement is a great opportunity for rural parts of Wales to boost the productivity and capacity of their digital infrastructure and forms a key part of our plans to build a UK which is fit for the future.”

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “I am delighted by this investment in Wales through the Rural Connected Communities Competition. This exciting project aligns with our ambition to exploit digital connectivity and cutting-edge technologies to drive new markets and enhance economic growth across Wales.

“We are committed to connecting communities. Digital infrastructure and 5G connectivity are critical to providing the services needed to provide social and economic prosperity.”