In addition, the money will be used for "cutting-edge" AI and robotics that can "operate in extreme and hazardous environments," including nuclear energy, space and deep mining environments. So Wall-E, basically?
Today's Budget also unpacked the government's plans -- again, hinted at in last year's Autumn Statement -- to support fibre broadband and 5G connectivity in the UK. Starting this year, the treasury has promised to spend £200 million on a suite of local projects that will "test ways to accelerate market delivery of new full-fibre broadband networks." These include connection vouchers for businesses, new connections for schools, hospitals and other public sector buildings, and a push to bundle local public sector users "to create enough broadband demand to reduce the financial risk of building new full-fibre networks," Google Fiber style.
We heard a lot about 5G at Mobile World Congress, however the super-fast network technology is still a way off. To accelerate its development, the UK government has put aside £16 million for a "cutting edge 5G facility" aimed at research firms. The Budget contains little detail about where it will be set up, or what it might look like, however. As for the government's future plans, there's just this throwaway line to consider: "Funding for future trials will be awarded on a competitive basis." Make of that what you will.