The long-awaited Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review

The Government has set a course to accelerate improvements to the UK’s digital infrastructure by publishing the long-awaited Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review. 

Matthew Howett, Founder & Principal Analyst at Assembly comments:

"Two of the more striking recommendations are plans to allow unrestricted usage of Openreach’s passive infrastructure for the provision of mobile backhaul services and the decision to allow mobile operators far greater use of government buildings to boost coverage across the UK. 

Access to suitable sites for mobile operators has been an ongoing and well publicised problem. Starting with making access to government buildings easier should help speed up deployment and improve coverage – a good example of a low hanging fruit.  

Rather strangely also shoehorned into the document is a suggestion that four networks might be too many to support the level of investment in 5G required, and that as such as Ofcom should monitor and consider the industry structure if the necessary investment wasn’t being made because of competitive dynamics. While it has been suggested that Three and O2 (who recently had a merger blocked) will be buoyed by this news, it’s unlikely to materially change the course of things in either the short or medium term. Both have been quick to assert their 5G credentials and there looks set to be a healthy level of investment in network improvements. Ofcom too is unlikely to be convinced by the need for change unless something drastic materialises."

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