William Eichler 14 May 2019

Councils ‘unprepared’ for 5G roll out

Mobile network operators have urged local authorities to do more to support the roll out of 5G as report finds fewer than a third of local plans make reference to mobile connectivity.

In a new report, the trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators, Mobile UK, reveals that councils do not prioritise mobile connectivity.

The study found that fewer than one third (28%) of councils’ local plans make detailed reference to mobile connectivity.

It also revealed that more than half (65%) did not have a councillor with specific responsibility for digital issues.

5G is expected to contribute up to £164bn to GDP by 2030 by providing major increases in data capacity and speed.

‘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,’ said Gareth Elliot, head of policy and communications for Mobile UK.

‘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.’

Mobile UK’s research found that almost nine in 10 (87%) councils had not audited the suitability of their land, buildings and other infrastructure to host digital infrastructure.

Three-quarters (74%) had not applied for funding to improve digital 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 can be deployed quickly and effectively,’ Mr Elliot concluded.

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