The government is setting up a new planning group to support the roll-out of 5G.

It will bring together councils, landowners, industry watchdog Ofcom and other stakeholders to work on planning challenges and policy.

Minister of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Margot James said the government had to “establish what is needed to create the optimal conditions for long-term, sustainable investment” in both 5G and full-fibre broadband.

Speaking at the launch of O2’s ‘The value of 5G for cities and communities’ report, Ms James said: “We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G, and this report highlights the huge potential we have to get ahead and reap the benefits of this exciting new technology.”

Ms James explained that she is aware of the importance of planning for the roll-out of 5G, and said the government must do more to support this.

She said the government knows greater collaboration is necessary to achieve its ambition of becoming a 5G world leader. Ms James went on to say that the government would be setting up “a local connectivity group to help local areas develop local plans for connectivity”.

According to the minister of state, this should reduce inconsistencies in deploying digital infrastructure around the UK.

The group is intended to help provide an accurate picture of local area requirements for digital infrastructure and encourage local authorities to develop their own plans.

In addition, the group will help limit the number of inconsistencies in how the regulations surrounding network deployment are interpreted at council level. This would look at aspects of network planning such as wayleaves – necessary for the construction of infrastructure needed for 5G – as well as bringing ultrafast connectivity into new-build developments during the construction process rather than as an afterthought.

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