Government To Make 4G Mast Building Easier, But Is Quiet On Ultrafast Broadband Plans

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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New government reports says fixed and mobile broadband are essential for UK producitivitry, but ultrafast broadband plans still a mystery

The government plans to make it easier for mobile operators to build phone masts and other network infrastructure, claiming quality fixed and mobile broadband is essential to its ambition of improving the UK’s productivity.

In a new report, the government proposes allowing taller mobile masts in both protected and unprotected areas and intends to the introduce legislation in a reformed Electronic Communications Code.

“These measures will make it cheaper and easier for providers to build the infrastructure UK businesses need,” claims Fixing the Foundations: creating a more prosperous nation, which has been signed off by Chancellor George Osborne and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid.

Government broadband

Parliament Government London © anshar Shutterstock 2012The report also reiterates plans to release more public sector spectrum to industry and says the government will support the market to ensure “near universal” 4G coverage.

The same pledge is made for 1Gbps ultrafast broadband, but no details about how this might be achieved have been disclosed. The Conservative manifesto released prior to the 2015 General Election claimed “ultrafast broadband should be available to nearly all UK premises as soon as practicable.”

The only concrete target mentioned was the existing goal of achieving 95 percent superfast broadband coverage by 2017 through initiatives like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which has so far connected more than 2.4 million homes and businesses that would not have been otherwise covered by commercial deployments of fibre.

Such programmes have been part-funded by ‘top-slicing’ the BBC licence fee, however the government has agreed to free the broadcaster of these obligations by the end of the current parliament in a new settlement.

“Reliable and high quality fixed and mobile broadband connections support growth in productivity, efficiency and labour force participation across the whole economy,” the report continues.

“They enable new and more efficient business processes, access to new markets and support flexible working and working from home. Investment in high speed broadband will support long-term economic growth, with GVA (gross value added) increasing by £6.3 billion, causing a net increase of 20,000 jobs in the UK by 2024.”

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