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National Infrastructure Commission bangs the drum for a 5G blueprint

Published: Thursday, 22nd December 2016

New report, “Connected Future”, calls for prioritisation of digital infrastructure in local planning policy to ensure the UK is ready for 5G...

The National Infrastructure Commission has published a report urging central and local government to make sure the UK is much more 5G ready, a move which will involve recognition that deployment of digital infrastructure should be established as a priority in local planning policy.

Better connectivity will involve the rail and motorway networks as well as towns and cities, the NIC pointed out.

The report, called Connected Future, has called for a rail plan by next year and infrastructure in place on key routes by 2025. In the case of the motorway system, the NIC wants to see the infrastructure in place by 2025.

It recommended that local authorities and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) should work with network providers to develop approaches that enable the deployment of the tens of thousands of small cells expected to be required in urban centres.

The report said they should consider the role of local government assets and infrastructure, (e.g. land, buildings, roads, street furniture) and help coordinate the role that other public buildings in an area (e.g. hospitals and universities) can play to facilitate the deployment of mobile telecoms infrastructure.

Local authorities and LEPs should report annually to the government department with responsibility for digital infrastructure on their progress delivering against these plans, the NIC argued.

Local models for facilitating the deployment of these networks should be piloted and evaluated to inform national roll-out. Any pilot programme should allow for the evaluation of deployment models in different types of area (e.g. urban, rural, and coastal) and in both single-tier and two-tier local government areas.

Any pilot programme should also establish how high quality design can minimise the impact of hosted infrastructure on the built environment.

Read the report, Connected Future.

Roger Milne