Streetlamps and bus shelters to boost 5G roll out

Mobile network operators will now gain easier access to lampposts, bus shelters, and other street furniture as part of a government trial aimed at speeding up the roll out of 5G technology.

A £4 million competition launched today will explore ways to make it easier for mobile companies to use public buildings and infrastructure, including CCTV poles and traffic signals, to host 5G radio equipment.

Street furniture and buildings can be used to host 5G network equipment more cheaply, quickly, and with less visual impact compared with traditional phone masts.

However, network operators often find it difficult to acquire the information needed to verify that a structure is suitable, such as its location, physical dimensions, proximity to the street or access to a power source.

To address these obstacles, the government is investing in pilots that test the latest innovations in digital asset management platforms.

The government said that this will enable local councils to more easily share data mobile companies need to accelerate their roll out plans.

“The lampposts lining our streets have huge potential to accelerate the roll out of 5G and reduce the need to build new masts, but right now getting access to this infrastructure can be tricky,” said digital infrastructure minister, Matt Warman. “That’s why we are investing millions to help local councils and mobile companies work together more effectively to bring people the incredible benefits of faster connectivity as we level up the UK.”

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