National Infrastructure Commission condemns UK’s 4G ‘Not-Spots’

The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission has published its final report into 5G connectivity across the country. 

It calls for the roll-out of 5G services to be handled better than that of 4G and makes recommendations on how the UK can become a world leader in connectivity when the technology reaches its tipping point.

In an international index published by OpenSignal, the UK currently sits at 54th in the global rankings behind countries including Peru, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Data-Hungry Use Cases

5G will offer mobile users ultra-fast connectivity at super low latency and will allow for new use-cases such as IoT, augmented reality and 4K video.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said “Our 4G network is worse than Romania and Albania, Panama and Peru. Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centres are plagued by not spots where connectivity is impossible. That isn’t just frustrating, it is increasingly holding British business back as more and more of our economy requires a connected workforce.”

“5G offers us a chance to start again and get ahead. If government acts now we can ensure our major transport networks and urban centres are 5G ready in time to give British industry every chance to lead the world in exploiting its applications.”

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Government and Ofcom should develop meaningful metrics to allow for correct coverage provisioning
  • Key rail routes and city centre ‘not-spots’ should be a high priority
  • Major roads should have 5G fit networks in place no later than 2025
  • Small cells need to be implemented in towns and cities with collaboration between network providers and local authorities
  • Holding specific government departments to account for delivering digital infrastructure roll out
  • A programme to ensure the UK’s infrastructure investments are future proof
  • A full review of regulation around infrastructure to ensure network sharing is enabled
  • Spectrum allocation relaxed to enable niche or regional players to fill underserved areas

Marc Waters, Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise for the UK and Ireland commented: “We welcome today’s report and the emphasis placed on the importance of securing the UK’s readiness for 5G.”

“Technology is evolving rapidly and is disrupting every industry. With workforces increasingly becoming more mobile and more and more devices being connected, it’s essential that we have a robust networking infrastructure that can cope with the demands placed on it. A strong infrastructure will also put the U.K in a good position to successfully navigate the industrial revolution 4.0.”

UK chancellor Phillip Hammond recently committed £1bn to support 5G and optical fibre roll out across the country.

View the full announcement