The Government’s Plan for Britain in 2017, focussed on building a world-class digital infrastructure for the UK. Connectivity, the policy document said, “drives productivity and innovation, and is the physical underpinning of a digital nation”. Three years on, and the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the accuracy of that phrase.
While we certainly welcome the UK Government’s ambition to expand 4G and roll-out 5G, we believe considerable legislative barriers remain that impact the swift deployment of communications infrastructure. Essential services, citizens and business have never been so reliant on digital communications as they are today –and it’s creating unparalleled pressure on networks.
The 2017 reforms to the Electronic Communications Code (the Code) to make it quicker and easier to install infrastructure on public and private land, is not working as intended, and loopholes that create challenges and delays persist. It is for this reason that we are delighted to be one of the founding companies, with other major industry players, of the Speed Up Britain initiative.
Chaired by former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, our campaign is calling on the UK Government to make specific, targeted changes to the Code that will tackle current problems and ensure that the process of rolling out technology upgrades and building new sites really is fast and efficient.
There’s little doubt that applying some urgency and pace to closing these loopholes will benefit everyone –particularly in terms of helping MNOs deliver the connectivity needed to support the increasing army of home-workers and to provide critical support for the UK’s economic recovery post COVID-19.
Head of Legal/Property at Cellnex UK