Forging our 5G Future: Barriers and Solutions to network deployment

Forging our 5G Future: Barriers and Solutions to network deployment

The Broadband Stakeholder Group has published a report on ‘Lowering barriers to 5G deployment‘. It outlines the challenges and solutions to deploying new mobile infrastructure necessary to meet the UK Government’s ambition to be a 5G leader.

The report – ‘Lowering barriers to 5G deployment’ – is the outcome of a study by Analysys Mason researching barriers to 5G deployment from both industry and local authority perspectives in the UK, identifying key challenges faced during the deployment process. The report aims to assist the UK Government in delivering its ambition to be a 5G leader by identifying and proposing solutions to current and potential barriers to network deployment.

Legal barriers, deployment issues and challenges with stakeholder engagement all have the potential to delay the rollout of 5G. Taken together and against a general background of uncertainty regarding the business case for denser 5G networks, these could also ultimately limit the deployment of 5G infrastructure. Currently they act as a significant brake on investment due to additional costs and/or delays, meaning that network providers will have difficulty committing to roll out, without greater certainty of success.

Alongside the uncertain investment case for 5G and in particular for very dense small cell networks, many challenges stem from the lack of certainty over the benefits that 5G will deliver for the UK. Wider articulation of this value will help reduce uncertainty for industry and increase awareness of national priorities for mobile infrastructure within local authorities who have the greatest operational impact on network deployments.

The report also identifies thirteen specific barriers, reflecting practical challenges in planning and deploying mobile infrastructure for 5G. We propose a total of 21 recommendations for central government, local government and industry stakeholders – with short term wins including standardised access to public sector sites and leveraging the Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks Programme to assist in the deployment of 5G networks.

Richard Hooper, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group said “The Government is rightly ambitious in wanting to ensure that the UK can benefit from being a global leader in the use of 5G. The difficulty lies in how to efficiently deploy the infrastructure that 5G requires and we believe that this report provides a roadmap for how we can do so – removing unnecessary barriers and helping to deliver more investment and ultimately better coverage and capacity for users.”

Matt Yardley, Partner with Analysys Mason and project director for the study, commented “The next 12-18 months are vitally important for the mobile industry to prepare for 5G deployment. Easing barriers to deploying that result in lengthy delays in site planning, or increase costs of deployment to unrealistic levels, should be a key priority for Government, local authorities and the industry”.

This report on lowering barriers 5G deployment builds on an earlier report published by us in May 2017 exploring barriers to the deployment of fixed telecoms infrastructure. Access to fibre networks will underpin the deployment of 5G, and the new report finds that the recommendations for lowering barriers to fixed network deployment (from the May 2017 report) should also be acted on as quickly as possible to support the UK in becoming a world leader in 5G.

The full report is accessible here.

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