This year is shaping up to be a genuinely fantastic year for the 5G Testbeds and Trials programme. The world's first end to end 5G network, the first 5G project we funded, continues to demonstrate some fascinating capabilities which help push the boundaries of what will be possible in the future. We're also excited about the potential of our Urban Connected Communities initiative in the West Midlands. However, the standout highlight from 2019 so far has to be the six flourishing projects we selected from a well-contested competition in March of last year.
You'll read all about them here and, trust me, they're well worth a look. The genesis of the competition was to fund a small portfolio of projects with a big impact to spearhead efforts toward making the UK a global leader in 5G.
Over the past 12 months these projects have brought together small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with big industry players, universities and local authorities. The best of UK innnovation, resources and expertise are represented here, and I'm really proud to see the hard work coming to fruition.
As you'll see, there are some really exciting applications being tested. The impact of these projects has been remarkable - from manufacturing in the Midlands and enabling smart agriculture and tourism in Scotland, Wales, Northern England and the West Country, to improving healthcare in Liverpool and maximising the future benefits of self-driving cars in Bedfordshire - every single one of them has delivered something hugely valuable.
I hope you enjoy experiencing and reading about these projects as much as I do. They really do provide a window into what a future 5G enabled UK might look like.