The trade body has urged the government to do more to help its local councils ‘level up’
Mobile UK, the trade body representing the UK’s four MNOs, has called on the government to do more to help local authorities meet its own 5G targets.
This comes off the back of the ‘Connecting the UK’ report by YouGov and property consultants Cluttons, which revealed that there’s room for improvement.
The report, based on a survey of citizens, decision-makers, MPs and councillors, revealed that 63 per cent of local councillors agree that nationwide gigabit coverage is vital to “levelling up in the UK”.
In particular, councillors believe that 5G will help to provide improvements in transport and logistics services.
But people surveyed also reported significant stumbling blocks in the rollout of 5G and full-fibre services, with community objections (cited by 41 per cent of respondents), disruption to residents (32pc), planning regulations (31pc) and lack of engagement from providers (24pc) proving to be key issues.
This has led to Gareth Elliott, director of policy and communications at Mobile UK, to urge the government to do more to support local councils across the country.
“The report highlights digital connectivity as vital for UK’s future prospects,” he said. “However, much more needs to be done to deliver these ambitions at ground level,” said Elliott. “We believe the government needs to fund and empower local authorities to each have a dedicated champion with the skills and responsibilities needed to coordinate local strategies.
“Action needs to be taken now if we are to reach national targets and harness the positive impact which will be felt by a better-connected Britain.”
Elliott adds that 5G needs to be better explained to drive understanding.
“5G has been rolled out in the UK to nearly 400 towns and cities,” he said. “But that could be faster if we overcome some barriers, such as ambivalence, antipathy and outright rejection at local level. We need 5G to be seen and explained as a huge positive.”