We welcome the Government’s ambition to roll-out 5G in the coming years and deliver 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s landmass through the Shared Rural Network. For the Government to achieve its levelling up ambitions for every region and nation in the UK and build a digital economy fit for the future, it is vital that these targets are met.
The Electronic Communications Code regulates the relationship between electronic communications network operators and providers of sites to host the equipment needed for the mobile networks we all use. Reforms to the Code introduced in 2017 were designed to recognise that access to digital communications is now considered a basic need, and to put these services on the same footing as providers of essential services such as electricity and energy.
But the Code is not working as intended and this presents a significant threat to the Government’s digital strategy and the economic benefits it will bring. Progress is being stalled by lengthy legal proceedings leading to significant delays to vital upgrades of existing telecom sites. Shared intentions to build better mobile networks are being frustrated and holding the UK back.