UK sets out plan to develop 5G and fibre strategy

20 December 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The UK government has opened a consultation into full fibre and 5G in an update to its telecoms strategy.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) released a document that outlines the next phase of work aimed at preparing the UK to deploy 5G services, including steps it will take to support investment.

It has asked for contributions from the industry and from interested parties, which will inform the upcoming DCMS Telecoms Infrastructure Review, which is due to be published in the middle of 2018.

The DCMS announced that it was forming a partnership of the TM Forum and the Knowledge Transfer Network, led by the Cambridge Wireless organisation.

Bob Driver, CEO of Cambridge Wireless, which started by bringing together innovative technology companies in the Cambridge area of eastern England, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the UK to build and enhance its position in the implementation of the next generation of mobile communication – and the end-goal is to help these technologies rapidly transform our societies and economic performance.”

Nik Willetts, CEO of the TM Forum, said: “Exposing this learning in the UK and amplifying experience from the UK to the rest of the world is at the heart of what we do.”

The government said this was an update to its 5G strategy first published earlier in 2017. It details the next phase of work aimed at preparing the UK for a 5G future, said the DCMS, including the steps that the government will take to support investment, and the ongoing programme of 5G Testbeds and Trials.

Matt Hancock, the UK’s minister for digital, said: “We want the UK to be a global leader in 5G so that we can take early advantage of the benefits that this new technology offers. The steps we are taking now are all part of our commitment to realising the potential of 5G, and will help to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone.”

The government has launched a call for views on the appropriate scale and scope of deployment pilots that will help to establish the conditions under which 5G can be deployed in a timely way and help foster the development of 5G in the UK. This includes the timescales over which they should be delivered, the amount of funding contribution which would be appropriate, and the method by which funding should be allocated.