Report says planning reforms would accelerate broadband roll-outs in UK


A new report has revealed that the UK Government, local authorities and operators should create a uniform approach to planning in order to facilitate speedier broadband rollouts.

The report from the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) investigated the barriers to telecoms infrastructure deployment.

The report noted that local authorities across the UK take several approaches to planning, which is hindering the deployment of telecoms networks to households and businesses.

It says tackling the issues straight away is crucial to facilitate the deployment of future full-fibre and 5G infrastructure.

Noticing and permit schemes, section 58 notices, road traffic management and planning permissions were the four key areas that are reported to affect planning processes.

Several recommendations were made to central and local government, as well as to operators, on how to reduce the burden on telecoms operators by creating consistency in the interpretation of legislation and enhancing the level of interaction between all parties.

The government has been urged to create a cross departmental unit which can eliminate barriers, and ministers are recommended to work with the industry on a digital communications infrastructure strategy.

The BSG is also urging telecom service providers to share more data and understand the concerns of local authorities.

The report stated that over the past year, the UK government has put major emphasis on the deployment of full-fibre and 5G networks, by allocating significant amount of funds to stimulate those markets apart from the existing Broadband Delivery UK broadband rollout in rural areas and the forthcoming Universal Service Obligation.

It noted that publicly funded initiatives are facing the similar challenges as commercially led projects and eliminating barriers to deployment is key to make sure that the UK is served by great connectivity.

BSG chairman Richard Hooper said: “Building infrastructure in the UK is extremely tough – due to our geography and legacy systems, but also due to regulation. We need to remove these barriers to ensure we get the digital infrastructure that our economy depends on.

“On their own, these barriers can seem small but a multitude of marginal gains can add up to more than the sum of their parts. We believe that this is the case here. Removing these barriers will help unlock investment and deliver networks with better coverage, capacity and quality.”

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