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Mobile UK has revealed that, amid calls to do more to support the rollout of 5G technology, fewer than a third of local plans make reference to mobile connectivity.
The trade association for the UK’s mobile network operators conducted a study which found that only 28 per cent of councils’ local plans make detailed reference to mobile connectivity and that 65 per cent of local authorities did not have a councillor with specific responsibility for digital issues.
Providing major increases in data capacity and speed, 5G is expected to bring major economic benefits to the UK – contributing up to £164 billion to GDP by 2030. With councils playing a central role the research found that there is a crucial opportunity now for critical steps to be taken.
The report, Councils and Connectivity, also champions best practice and highlights local authorities that are already putting in steps to enable better cooperation and assisting the mobile industry. It urges councils to build mobile connectivity into their strategic plans and to give equal weight to mobile as they do to broadband, including dedicated staff.
Gareth Elliot, head of Policy and Communications for Mobile UK, said: “Mobile connectivity has transformed our daily lives, and 5G is expected to take us even further, but we must ensure that at all levels of government we are equally prepared. Councils have a vital role, yet while many are working towards a connected future, our research has found that there is still a lag in fully prioritising mobile connectivity.
“With launch plans announced for 5G now is the time to take the opportunity to work with industry to break down barriers and champion mobile connectivity, to ensure the next generation of mobile infrastructure can be deployed quickly and effectively.”