HIGH-tech businesses are set to benefit after parts of Worcestershire were chosen as a test site for the next generation of digital communication technology.

Plans for the county to be included in the national test programme for the 5G network will be unveiled at this year’s Malvern Festival of Innovation.

Businesses in Worcester and those in the Malvern Hills Science Park will be among the first to try out the 5G applications before it is rolled out nationally in 2020.

5G is expected to be much faster than 4G, the standard currently in use. One estimate is that it will be able to deliver data at 10 gigabytes per second, more than 1,000 times faster than 4G.

The news has been welcomed by the chief executive of the science park, who described it as "absolutely superb".

Details will be outlined at an event next Friday, October 6, at Malvern Theatres as part of the festival.

Alan White, the science park's chief executive, said: "This is absolutely superb news. South Worcestershire and Malvern in particular have a fantastic legacy of high-tech development and industry, so it's quite fitting that it should be chosen for this testing."

As the 5G service will be a test project, it will not be available to households and private individuals.

Gary Woodman, chief executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The arrival of 5G will open up so many possibilities, from a doctor performing robotic surgery, to establishing responsive machinery that can predict its own maintenance requirements.

"It will form the backbone of the industries and technologies of the future and I’m delighted Worcestershire is going to be at the forefront of that technology.”

MP Harriett Baldwin said: "Malvern has been at the heart of technological innovation for eight decades so it is great to open another chapter in the town’s history with these 5G trials.

“The Local Enterprise Partnership has done a great job steering this proposal and I look forward to seeing the tests evolve and deliver some real benefits for local people and local businesses."

Next Friday's Business of Innovating event is part of the festival, which is organised by Innovate Malvern CIC and supported by Malvern Hills District Council and numerous sponsors.