Today, DCMS published the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR), setting out the Government’s national, long-term strategy to support world-class digital connectivity in the UK.
Commenting on the FTIR, Scott Coates, CEO of Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), said:
WIG supports the encouragement given by DCMS for OFCOM to explore the potential of 5G spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band to be operated under a lightly licensed model. With the support of mobile operators and Ofcom this proposal could have a transformational impact on indoor connectivity in many thousands of work places, retail and leisure destinations across the UK. This move would follow in the tracks of the US market where up to 150MHz of similar spectrum is allocated on this basis and has been a tremendous catalyst for new neutral host business models and technology development. The move can significantly lower costs of delivering indoor mobile signal and will also allow building owners to take more responsibility for enabling and funding connectivity.
WIG also welcomes the recommendation for Ofcom to look at removing restrictions on WIG and other telecoms companies from using the PIA remedy for duct access. Demand for fibre-connected small cells for densification and faster 4G services is growing in the UK and these fibre-connected small cells will provide a stepping stone for 5G services. Access to ducts will accelerate investment and is needed urgently and we therefore hope this is a priority for Ofcom.
WIG believes other measures included in the review can also have a significant positive impact on investment fibre-connected small cells to enable 5G including support for concession awards that target connectivity benefits over short-term payments”.