UK councils urged to not delay 5G network development

Research conducted by Mobile UK, the national trade association for mobile network operators, revealed that councils across the UK had an “inconsistent” approach to assisting mobile connectivity developments, and focused their attentions on fixed line broadband services instead.

The group, in turn, has called on local authorities to place more emphasis on improving mobile networks, and has urged them to take 5G ultrafast infrastructure developments more seriously.

The report, titled Councils & Connectivity 2, comes in light of three major mobile operators looking to kickstart 5G commercial rollouts in the latter half of 2019. However, it found that 87 per cent of all the councils surveyed (amounting to 60 councils in various urban or rural geographies) had not examined its assets for their ability to support digital infrastructure.

In addition to this, nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of the councils had failed to apply for funding to boost digital networks, whilst only a meagre 10 per cent of council economic strategies clearly reviewed the importance of mobile connectivity to future productivity and economic results.

Head of Policy and Communications for Mobile UK, Gareth Elliot, said: “Mobile connectivity has transformed our daily lives, and 5G is expected to take us even further, but we must ensure that at all levels of government we are equally prepared.

“Councils have a vital role, yet while many are working towards a connected future, our research has found that there is still a lag in fully prioritising mobile connectivity.

“With launch plans announced for 5G, now is the time to take the opportunity to work with industry to break down barriers and champion mobile connectivity, to ensure the next generation of mobile infrastructure is deployed quickly and effectively.”

It has been found that 5G networks operate best in denser localities; therefore, councils across the country have been urged to pool their resources and cooperation to assist with preparatory work including assessing site availability, forward planning, and power and fibre accesses.

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