Wireless Infrastructure Strategy PublishedKatie Lester
by Katie Lester
On 11th April 2023 the Government announced new investment into telecoms and digital wireless infrastructure as part of their new Wireless Infrastructure Strategy. As part of the UK Science and Technology Framework published earlier this year, which set out the Government’s approach towards making the UK a science and technology superpower by 2030, Future Telecoms was selected as one of the five critical technologies. The Wireless Infrastructure Strategy release builds on that priority.
The Wireless Infrastructure Strategy is a crucial element of the Prime Minister’s five priorities for Government to deliver a prosperous and secure future for the UK and includes almost £150 million of new investment into the future of digital connectivity.
It is increasingly clear that the importance and value of Digital infrastructure is vital in unlocking the full potential of an economy. The measures and investment unveiled by the Government as part of the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy has the potential to continue to drive deployment and adoption of fixed and wireless networks, invest in the next generation of connectivity and deliver on their promise of increased opportunities.
As part of the strategy £40 million of investment will be made available for regions and local authorities to create ‘5G Innovation Regions’ to promote innovation and adoption of 5G enabled services for businesses and the public sector. In addition to this an £8 million fund will be aimed at providing satellite connectivity to the few remaining premises unable to access improved broadband due to their remoteness following the Alpha Trial Programme of 2022.
The Policy Framework outlined in the Strategy affirms the Government’s commitment to supporting the extension of 4G coverage to 95% of the UK population as well as making a new commitment to deliver standalone 5G coverage to all populated areas of the UK by 2030. Plans to improve coverage reporting will help in identifying areas which are in need of support or reform to meet this ambitious but necessary target.
The new 6G Strategy outlines the plan to place the UK at the forefront of the future of telecoms by shaping the next generation of wireless technology. With the 5G rollout now moving at pace in the UK and Globally, a focus has been placed on the ability for the UK to be forthright in steering the agenda for future wireless technologies such as 6G.
Areas of focus within the 6G strategy to realise these ambitions include creating a clear roadmap and UK vision, encouraging research & development through collaboration, including fostering international alliances and support for patents in qualifying technology areas.
The announcement of a robust and strategic framework to support private investment into 5G is particularly welcome and follows on from the DCF’s report with Frontier Economics of September 2022 which looked into the investment gap for full 5G rollout.