Ottawa among cities open for applications to public-private 5G testbed

5g

A $400-million partnership between the federal government and multinational companies in Canada is opening up a new testbed for companies in Ontario and Quebec to experiment with the coming wave of 5G networks.

The feds announced Wednesday that the ENCQOR 5G testbed is open for applications from small and medium-sized businesses in five cities across the neighbouring provinces: Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. The National Capital Region’s testbed is operated by Invest Ottawa.

The testbeds, which look to prepare Canadian firms for the advent of fifth-generation connectivity, are proving grounds of sorts for new 5G applications, products and services. Solutions ranging from connected cars to e-learning to drone-based services can be piloted through the program.

First announced last year, multinationals such as Ericsson, IBM Canada and Thales Group are matching investments from the federal and provincial governments to fund the $400-million project.

Ottawa firms or academics wishing to work with the public and private partners on commercializing their 5G technology can fill out an application listing their project’s resource requirements. The program’s anchor companies will then assess the proposal’s feasibility.