01 Mar 2024

Industry Briefing: techUK members feed into DSIT on the role of telecoms and net zero

techUK members joined us to feed in their thoughts on the role of digital connectivity in the UK government's net zero ambitions following the UK’s Wireless Infrastructure Strategy.

The telecoms sector has worked collaboratively to create an industry-wide climate action roadmap to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. This webinar brought together the sector to discuss telecoms' vital role in the greening industry and telecom’s enabling role across other sectors' net zero ambitions.

techUK members were joined by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology’s Digital Infrastructure team currently leading on the delivery of the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy. This comes as they work to commission an independent assessment of the contribution that the adoption of 5G and other advanced wireless connectivity by key sectors can make to the UK’s net zero targets and how those benefits can be realised.  

Watch the full Industry Briefing here:

Key take-home points from the briefing included:

What the government should focus on in a net zero project

  • Analysis from the government should look at 'next step' of supporting advanced communication technology do what it can in for net zero ambitions.
  • Outcomes-focused work to facilitate the net zero transition, i.e., support for roll out of 5G networks, or assessing procurement arrangements to support public sector solution adoption. 
  • Industry can already demonstrate the benefits of 5G but needs government support on infrastructure piece.
  • Collaboration continues to be key for the enablement of telecoms in net zero - telecoms contributes 60% of the nation's carbon footprint but sector has also made headway with commitments to net zero targets.

Telecoms as an enabler for net zero

  • Ofcom are assessing the enablement role of telecoms. Telecoms requirement for sectors, specific use cases including farming and autonomous vehicles. But sector wide requirements from telecoms may be useful.
  • Connectivity is a fundamental pillar of enabling sectors to reach net zero. Government's net zero ambition doesn't point to wireless connectivity, or telecoms are to enable this. 
  • Advanced communications technologies give the ability for customers to have more energy efficient solutions, and support our customers to move to renewable energy and to provide them software hardware and services that can balance end-user experience/network performance and minimise embodied CO2 for products.
  • Autonomous vehicles, smart cities etc will be supported from the fast, low-latency connectivity that advance communications technology will provide.

Continued challenges for telecoms as an enabler/net zero transition

  • Energy efficiency of networks - what can data and AI tell us around efficiently utilising the network. I.e., efficient use of power and coverage for the network, i.e., better times to have 100% coverage.
  • Location is still a barrier to advanced connectivity and local government needs to have accurate mobile data coverage.



Exploring the Potential of Future Telecoms

Visit our Future Telecoms Hub to learn more or to register for regular updates.

Future Telecoms is techUK’s exploration of what the connectivity of tomorrow will look like. We will highlight the criticality of communications to our future prosperity and economic growth, and how the future telecoms ecosystem acts as the engine of innovation. Visit our Future Telecoms Hub to learn more or to register for regular updates.

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Contact the team

Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Mia Haffety

Mia Haffety

Programme Manager - Telecoms and Net Zero, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK

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