Connectivity is important – Ten things we need to do to get the basics rights
Just before Christmas, the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) published Connected Future, looking at what the Britain needs to do to become a ‘world leader in 5G deployment’.
The media reporting focussed on the revelations that the UK’s 4G coverage is worse than that of Albania and Peru (a claim since questioned by Ofcom) and hailed 5G as the opportunity to put things right.
As the authors of a paper that contributed to the NIC’s final report, we’re interested in the recommendation that the government appoints a Digital Champion to take responsibility for our digital future.
Because connectivity is now as important to consumers and business, as gas and electricity. And it’s our conviction that we can’t wait for 5G in 2020 to ‘put things right’, we need to get the basics right now.
So Cabinet Minister for our Digital Future, here are the 10 things we need you to do when you take office:
- Exploit the capabilities of 4G and focus on truly universal wireless coverage at last (e.g. bring connectivity to not-spots and rail), predictable and consistent speeds more important than peak speeds. (More targeted Government funding or carrots/sticks for MNOs).
- Create the regulatory environment for key verticals to have access to optimized wireless networks, not one size fits all – e.g. incentivize MNOs to invest in network slicing.
- Lower barriers to entry for new MVNO operators e.g. with flexible spectrum pricing and allocation, more shared/unlicensed spectrum.
- Post-Brexit, create a net neutrality program which allows investors in networks to monetize their infrastructure effectively (e.g. high QoS services) while retaining open access to core services.
- Create meaningful structures for dialog between spectrum owners and vertical industry players (e.g. transport) to break down the mistrust, and ensure advanced 4G and 5G serves more than one vertical.
- Provide support and funding for integrated smart city initiatives – reduce rates and incentivise investment by making access to publically owned assets easier.
- Invest in radio skills and in testbeds for all kinds of wireless, not just 5G.
- Ensure that 5G consultation is held with all sectors, and prioritize resources according to areas of social and economic impact – forget about 5G ‘leadership’
- Ensure that all new or upgraded buildings and infrastructure such as road and rail network are obliged to consider how wireless communications will be deployed in the environment they are creating.
- Encourage and incentivise private investors to make greater use of shared infrastructure (structures, transmission & power) to deliver wireless services.
Guest blog from Mark Keenan, Chief Executive Officer, Real Wireless for techUK's "Good to Great Connectivity for the UK" Week.
Mark Keenan, CEng MIStructE MIET
Chief Executive Officer, Real Wireless CEng MIStructE MIET
Mark has worked in the wireless telecommunications industry since 1992. Co-founder of Real Wireless, he took over as CEO in autumn 2015. Mark is skilled at managing complex projects, with experience in specification, design, installation and management of major wireless systems in environments as diverse as Heathrow Airport, Wembley Stadium, Ascot Racecourse and numerous corporate offices throughout the UK and The Netherlands. The wireless systems deployed are a combination of Wi-Fi, Private Mobile Radio, Tetra and Cellular with infrastructures specified and designed to offer maximum flexibility to customers and environments. Mark was Project Director for a major strategic consulting exercise for BAA, creating and delivering their complete wireless strategy. He was also responsible for the UK’s first landlord-owned multi-operator in-building wireless infrastructure in the Bullring Shopping Centre.
Real Wireless are independent wireless experts. To find out more about us go to www.realwireless.biz