The Government’s National Infrastructure Commission has launched a new consultation which, among other things, warns that the United Kingdom “risks falling behind” other countries in its next generation mobile (5G) and broadband connections unless “urgent action” is taken to increase capacity.
The consultation – ‘Congestion, Capacity, Carbon: Priorities for National Infrastructure‘ – notes the progress that has already been made to expand the coverage of fixed line “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) and 4Gbased Mobile connectivity, but it also calls for much more to be done.
Under the current plan it’s hoped that 98% of the UK’s population should be able to connect (outdoors) to a 4G network by the end of this year (geographic reach will still be well behind this), while fixed line superfast broadband coverage is expected to cover around 98% of premises by 2020. However the report claims that the UK is far behind other countries in its 4G mobile coverage, and “it needs a plan to become a world leader in 5G and ultrafast broadband.”
Broadly speaking the consultation is merely seeking feedback on how to solve the key challenges and they don’t offer much in the way of recommendations, except to encourage the Government’s to publish their final plan for the 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband before the end of 2017 and to start properly preparing for the “widespread deployment” of 5G technology from 2020.
Any future recommendations made by the Infrastructure Commission will focus on projects and policies of “strategic national importance.” Responses to the consultation should be submitted by 12th January 2018.
So far it’s all a lot of lip service, but not much else.