Today's Weather: South East°F / °cWeather South East

GovWire

Government must take action now to secure our connected future so we are ready for 5G, and essential services are genuinely available where they are needed – Adonis

National Infrastructure Commission

December 14
00:15 2016

The National Infrastructure Commission has today (Wednesday) published its final report into 5G and telecommunication technology.

5G means seamless connectivity. Ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, ultra-high capacity transmitting at super low latency. It will support the ever larger data requirements of the existing network and new applications from augmented reality to connected vehicles and the Internet of Things, and many more, as unknowable today as the 4G services we take for granted would have been a decade ago.

In March 2016, the National Infrastructure Commission was asked to consider what the UK needs to do to become a world leader in 5G deployment, and to ensure that the UK can take early advantage of the potential applications of 5G services.

Today, the Commission publishes its findings.

The Commissions central finding is that mobile connectivity has become a necessity. The market has driven great advances since the advent of the mobile phone but government must now play an active role to ensure that basic services are available wherever we live, work and travel, and our roads, railways and city centres must be made 5G ready as quickly as possible.

This report makes practical recommendations to that end.

Government must take responsibility to secure our digital future, starting with the creation of a strong digital champion backed by a dedicated cabinet minister to drive change.

Government and Ofcom must ensure that essential outdoor mobile services such as basic talk, text and data - are available wherever we live, work and travel:

  • Britain is 54th in the world for 4G (the typical user can only access 4G 53% of the time), there are too many digital deserts and partial not spots, even within our city centres.
  • Government and Ofcom should develop a meaningful set of metrics to that represent the coverage people actually receive and use these to determine a mobile Universal Service Obligation so that consumers can access essential services where they are needed.
  • Government and Ofcom should deliver this as a soon as is practical but no later than 2025.

Government must ensure the UK is 5G ready:

  • Key Rail Routes: The railway network must rapidly improve connectivity. This is best delivered by a trackside network. Government should provide a plan by 2017, and the infrastructure should be in place on key routes by 2025.
  • Major Roads: Our motorways must have mobile networks fit for the future. The infrastructure should be in place by 2025.
  • Towns and Cities: Local Authorities and LEPs should work with network providers to develop approaches that enable the deployment of the tens of thousands of small cells we expect to need in our urban centres.

Releasing the report, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said,

5G is the future ultra-fast, and ultra-reliable it has the potential to change our lives and our economy in ways we cannot even imagine today. But the UK is currently languishing in the digital slow lane.

Britain is 54th in the world for 4G coverage, and the typical user can only access 4G barely half the time. Our 4G network is worse than Romania and Albania, Panama and Peru. Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centres are plagued by not spots where connectivity is impossible. That isnt just frustrating, it is increasingly holding British business back as more and more of our economy requires a connected workforce.

5G offers us a chance to start again and get ahead. If government acts now we can ensure our major transport networks and urban centres are 5G ready in time to give British industry every chance to lead the world in exploiting its applications.

But none of this will matter unless we bring our mobile network up to speed. The existing system does not provide the level of coverage we will need in our connected future. We need a new universal service obligation which ensures that the mobile essentials like text, talk and data are available to us wherever we need them.

From connected vehicles to the internet of things, 5G will support a whole new way of communicating and doing business. The UK must not be left behind.

CONNECTED FUTURE: IN BRIEF

5G means seamless connectivity. Ultra-fast and ultra-reliable, transmitting massive amounts of data at super low latency. It will support the ever increasing requirements of the existing network and new applications as unknowable today as the 4G services we take for granted would have been a decade ago.

Securing the mobile networks necessary to put the UK at the forefront of this emerging technology will be critical to the growth of our economy. This report makes recommendations to make that happen.

The Commissions central finding is that mobile connectivity has become a necessity. The market has driven great advances since the advent of the mobile phone but government must now play an active role to ensure that basic services are available wherever we live, work and travel, and our roads, railways and city centres must be made 5G ready as quickly as possible.

PART 1: THE MOBILE REVOLUTION

The UK mobile market has transformed from a luxury in the 1980s to an essential today. 93% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone, smartphones have overtaken laptops as internet users device of choice, and there are more mobile devices than people.

Yet the UKs networks are not complete. There are too many digital deserts across the country and the availability of our 4G network is worse than many countries including Albania, Panama and Peru.

PART 2: GOVERNMENT AS A DIGITAL CHAMPION

The market has driven enormous change but now government must take responsibility to secure our digital future, starting with the creation of a strong digital champion backed by a dedicated cabinet committee.Government must ensure we have the infrastructure in place to deliver 5G across our major centres and transport networks.

Major roads: Our motorways must have roadside networks fit for the future. The infrastructure should be in place by 2025.

Key rail routes: The railway network must rapidly improve connectivity. This will be best delivered in future by a trackside network. Government should provide a plan by 2017, and the infrastructure should be in place on main rail routes by 2025.

Towns and cities: Local Authorities and LEPs should work with network providers to develop approaches that enable the deployment of the tens of thousands of small wireless cells we expect to need in our urban centres.

PART 3: ENABLING THE MARKET TO DELIVER WHAT WE NEED

Government and Ofcom must ensure basic outdoor mobile services are available wherever we live, work and travel.

Regulation must keep pace with the rapid evolution of the mobile communications markets, allowing innovative new firms to provide services that the existing market has not delivered, including potentially to remote and rural communities

Greater connectivity is inevitable and essential. The UK cannot be left behind.

Recommendations in full

Recommendation 1: Digital infrastructure lies at the heart of the UKs industrial strategy and affects every sector of the economy. To reflect its importance, ultimate government responsibility for digital infrastructure should reside in one place under a single cabinet minister with the authority to shape policy and delivery across government ensuring that it delivers the governments overarching digital strategy. This work should report to the Economy and Industrial Strategy Cabinet Committee. It should:

  • Identify the public projects that contain a significant element of digital infrastructure and establish and maintain a plan which sets out how they can help deliver the governments overarching digital strategy and maximise the benefit of better mobile telecommunications for UK citizens and businesses.
  • Hold the various parts of government that are delivering digital infrastructure to account, in order to ensure adequate telecoms network provision in the delivery of its infrastructure programmes.
  • Ensure that when upgrading existing or delivering new infrastructure, such as that alongside our roads and railways, the long term capacity needs of telecoms networks are considered and met. This could include installing more fibre and additional infrastructure to make sure that networks are future-proof. It will also mean ensuring that the networks are readi

Related Articles

Comments

  1. We don't have any comments for this article yet. Why not join in and start a discussion.

Write a Comment

Your name:
Your email:
Comments:

Post my comment

Recent Comments

Follow Us on Twitter

Share This


Enjoyed this? Why not share it with others if you've found it useful by using one of the tools below: