08 Jul 2024

Telecoms Action Plan: a techUK policy stocktake for the new government

techUK has provided the incoming Labour government with a practical “to do” list to help the UK maximise the benefits of rolling out and taking up advanced connectivity across the nation.

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The Telecoms Action Plan – formed by techUK’s Communications Infrastructure and Services Programme – is structured as both a review and reflection on previous policy interventions, including the 2023 Wireless Infrastructure Strategy, and outlines a range of recommendations that new Labour policymakers can enact after 5 July 2024.

The recommendations are informed by industry – and provide a set of clear wins that build on the successes of previous actions, or fulfils plans and ideas that were not able to complete in the previous government.

 

Immediately, the UK government could boost the economy by driving future-facing telecoms uptake and investment by:

  1. Enabling digital infrastructure to be built more quickly with wide-reaching benefits for everyone across the UK
    • Optimising the planning system to be fit for the delivery of telecoms infrastructure.
    • Ensuring the tax system incentivises further investment.
    • Provision for future spectrum management and a future skills pipeline.
  2. Improving telecoms networks economics to deliver full fibre and 5G ambitions
    • Initiate a Future Connectivity Strategy post 2025 Spending Review to support industry on delivery and uptake of future facing digital infrastructure and connectivity.
    • Prioritise progressing policies held up at consultation stage by confirming them as soon as possible
  3. Maintaining healthy competition and economic security through the right regulation:
    • Providing longer term certainty and hold the regulator to account in delivering economic benefits for the UK, sending the right signals to industry and drive forward investment.

As well as a number of recommendations across these three themes, we have also reviewed the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy in terms of what was set out by DSIT and what further work would be welcomed by the telecoms sector.

As the new Labour government seeks to refocus the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology as an economic department, and deliver change using technology and innovation – it has never been more important to that connectivity and communications infrastructure deliver the growth, productivity and positive change that the UK requires.

An inflection point?

We recognise the success of the policy framework that has delivered full fibre to over 62% of UK premises – this is a UK infrastructure story to be proud of. It is important to reflect on this success from 2019-2024 as it has occurred in the face of unprecedented challenges including the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, inflationary pressure, and the cost-of-living crisis.

techUK also recognises the shifting market dynamics impacting the public mobile network operators in the coming years including rapid technological change, new entrants, and shifting economics, and offer simple actions to help improve the picture for advanced connectivity, including 5G.

Indoor connectivity – from neutral host provision to the advances in Wi-Fi technology – is essential to the success of our Telecoms Action Plan, and we include some suggestions here too (but it is not our main focus). We would always remind policymakers - whether new or incumbent! - that the majority of connectivity usage is indoors.

As techUK and its members engage with the new UK government, we aim to help it “hit the ground running” as there is no time to waste when it comes to delivering connectivity for all.


Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Jaynesh Patel

Jaynesh Patel

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK

 


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Contact the team

Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Jaynesh Patel

Jaynesh Patel

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK

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