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  1. ITV Report

How 5G technology will help more than just communication in the UK

Huawei will help in building the UK's 5G infrastructure. Credit: PA

For Boris Johnson, the benefits of rolling out the 5G network across the UK must have outweighed the perceived risks of having Chinese tech firm Huawei help build its infrastructure.

Despite warnings from US President Donald Trump and his right-hand man Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the British prime minister went ahead and approved plans which controversially allow Huawei to play a role in 5G.

If Mr Johnson is prepared to defy Mr Trump, the 5G network must be worth the hassle with Huawei, right?

Why Johnson defied Trump?

Dr Victoria Baines from Oxford University told ITV News the decision for Boris Johnson to allow Huawei into 5G would have essentially been a "very sophisticated cost benefit analysis".

The risks, as outlined by critics of Huawei, centre around the firm's attachment to the Chinese stage, which has been accused of espionage.

Critics say it would be easy for China, through Huawei, to surreptitiously interfere in the UK's affairs.

But Mr Johnson trusts his security services are capable of nullifying the risks and to remove block Huawei - which is already involved with the 4G network - from all UK involvement would set back the roll out of 5G significantly.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston says if Johnson kicked Huawei out the UK, "then the roll out of 5G would be set back by two years, that of full fibre broadband by around four years, and write-offs for UK telecoms companies would run to billions".

The risk of delaying 5G, in the opinion of Mr Johnson at least, must be dwarfed by what Dr Baines calls the "absolutely huge" benefits:

Download and streaming speed

For every day internet users, the main benefit of having 5G relates to speed.

As Dr Baines says, that means the streaming of games and videos is "going to be much more efficient than previously".

According to analysis from OpenSignal, download speeds on 5G can be up to 2.7x faster than 4G, so that likely means you can wave goodbye to online lagging.

The internet of things?

Boris Johnson defied Donald Trump over 5G and Huawei. Credit: PA

The 'internet of things' is a term to describe a system of unrelated devices that are able to transfer data to one another in order to communicate.

It often relates to smart homes and smart appliances and 5G is essential for making the internet of things work efficiently.

Dr Baines says 5G technology will provide a "leap forward" in connectivity between "the next generation of connected devices".

"All of those sensors to our refrigarators to our doorbells to our transport systems, they are all going to be able to talk to each other much more effectively and much more quickly with 5G."

Healthcare?

According to Dr Baines, it seems as though even the NHS could benefit from the roll out of 5G technology.

She says 5G is "going to massively enable remote healthcare", which in turn could "reduce the number of times we all need to go to the doctor".

Due to faster download speeds, remote appointments with your GP will become much more achievable and effective because streams will run more smoothly.

She suggests having more regular, remote GP appointments "could be preventing us from having more traumatic medical operations for instance".