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Speed Up Britain hosts roundtable on the importance of public and private sector collaboration in improving mobile connectivity

Speed Up Britain, hosted a roundtable on Wednesday 16 June to discuss ways of accelerating improvements to mobile connectivity in the UK through public and private sector collaboration.

Hosting the panel was Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Speed Up Britain Chair and former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, with participation from Rhys Enfield, Director of Infrastructure Acceleration, West Midlands 5G; Mike Robinson, Deputy Director for Strategy & Assurance, Office for Government Property; Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Digital Connectivity Spokesperson, Local Government Association; and Ben Roome, CEO, Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited. We were also joined by a wide range of representatives from local government and the mobile industry.   

The Government places a strong emphasis on the UK becoming a leader in digital connectivity, and the confirmation of plans to move forward with reform of the Electronic Communications Code were welcomed by participants.

The discussion focused on the economic and social benefits of accelerating mobile connectivity, especially in light of a widening digital divide that has been brought into sharp focus over the course of the pandemic. A recent study by the Centre for Policy Studies estimates that if 5G coverage reaches a quarter more of the population than the Government’s current target of 51%, it will produce GDP gains of £41.7 billion by 2027.

There was a strong emphasis on the need for greater collaboration between the infrastructure providers and local authorities, particularly in rural areas. Speed Up Britain sees local government as a crucial partner and seeks to work collaboratively to identify opportunities to improve mobile connectivity in rural communities and accelerate 5G deployment.

By working together, and with the support of innovative regional initiatives like those established by West Midlands 5G and Infralink in Scotland, we can transform the digital futures of communities across the UK.

Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Chair of Speed Up Britain, said:

“Accelerating improvements to mobile connectivity will drive social and economic prosperity in the UK. Key to making this happen are the necessary changes to the Electronic Communication Code.

“I was delighted to see private and public sector organisations come together to discuss the ways in which we can work together within communities across the country. We recognise the commitment from Government to get this right and we are ready to work with them in the coming months for the benefit of the UK and to deliver better connectivity for all.”