The UK government has made a £4m investment into a new two-year trial which seeks to make it easier for network operators to access and deploy 5G mobile broadband infrastructure within public buildings and street furniture.
Just some of the street furniture to be used in the trial includes traffic lights, CCTV poles, lampposts, and bus shelters.
The implementation of mobile infrastructure on street furniture is quite common throughout the UK, however the current red tape involved in getting access often requires many negotiations and concession agreements.
Additionally, network operators often have trouble accessing the information required to assess a structure’s suitability for the deployment of a mobile broadband unit.
The government has launched the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) as a direct response to these issues, and to explore ways in which access to street furniture can be made easier.
The DCIA will focus on setting new standards for managing the infrastructure involved in deploying mobile broadband on street furniture, as well as the contracts relating to the process.
UK Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman, said: “The lampposts lining our streets have huge potential to accelerate the roll out of 5G and reduce the need to build new masts, but right now getting access to this infrastructure can be tricky.
“That’s why we are investing millions to help local councils and mobile companies work together more effectively to bring people the incredible benefits of faster connectivity as we level up the UK.”
Mobile UK’s Hamish MacLeod said: “Mobile networks are critical to the UK’s economic recovery yet deploying infrastructure on public assets has often proved difficult.
“We welcome this competition aimed at breaking down these barriers and accelerating investment in 5G by piloting new digital platforms that bring together public bodies and mobile operators to make public-owned infrastructure more easily accessible.
“We are committed to working closely with the DCMS and Local Authorities on this project.”
The DCIA is an open competition which makes funding available for regional or local authorities. The deadline for applications is 18 November, with approved pilot projects expected to commence in January 2022.
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