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Ministers call on councils to roll out broadband and 5G coverage

Words: Huw Morris
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Ministers have written to local authorities urging them to boost gigabit broadband rollout and 5G mobile coverage.

The government intends to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible, and aims for most of the population to have 5G coverage by 2027.

In a joint letter, digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman and local government minister Simon Clarke urged councils to follow latest guidance on land access and valuation. The move aims to speed up deals granting access for new infrastructure, such as 5G masts and full-fibre broadband cabinets on public land.

The ministers have also asked councils to appoint a ‘digital champion’ to work across multiple teams to ensure a cohesive digital infrastructure strategy. To this end, the ministers said councils should also use the central government’s dedicated “barrier-busting” team, which is responsible for removing the obstacles to roll-out.

In a further move, the government is offering guidance on the safety and benefits of 5G to help councils tackle disinformation about the new mobile technology.

Warman said helping people get access to fast and reliable connectivity was a top priority for the government.

“Councils have a vital role to play in the roll-out of digital infrastructure and while there is good work going on up and down the country, there is more we can do,” he added.

“I’m writing to local authorities with new guidance and advice to help them break down some of the barriers to roll-out and give them the tools they need to quell quack theories about 5G.”

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