The roll out of 4G and 5G connectivity could get a significant boost – with the removal of red tape helping the installation of cell sites in new locations.
Bus shelters, lamp posts and traffic lights are among the pieces of street furniture that could be utilised by the government to install a great many more cell sites across the UK and boost superfast mobile connectivity.
Some 44 council areas across England and Scotland have been earmarked for development, in a bid to connect up to 187,000 areas that would otherwise be difficult to reach – as part of the government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit programme.
Street furniture and public buildings offer not just a location to place antennas, but also ways to build cell sites where small networks are created. This would provide the crucial level of connectivity needed for 5G connectivity, whilst also delivering seamless coverage across an area.
The old approach has been lambasted for its complexity, with providers needing to verify every single site’s location, physical dimensions, proximity to the street or access to a power source before it’s deemed suitable for an installation.
It’s hoped these new measures would make it easier for telecoms firms to install the essential hardware to roll out the networks on time and in budget.
Announcing these new proposals, Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: “Mobile companies are finding it difficult to get the data they need to check that a lamppost, bus shelter or public building is suitable for hosting their kit.”
She added that the pilot schemes would modernise the way local authorities and operators work together, to ultimately deliver “faster, more reliable mobile coverage for millions of people.”
The areas involved in this trial include Dorset, Dudley, Somerset, Sunderland, Tyneside and Wolverhampton in England, plus Angus, Dundee, Fife, Perth and Kinross in Scotland. There will also be smaller-scale trials at various other locations across England.
To see when 5G connectivity will be installed in your area, check the website of your mobile network provider for a full schedule.