The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has urged the government to take action on 5G in order to secure the UK’s future.
Publishing its final report on 5G, the NIC said its central finding is that mobile connectivity has “become a necessity”.
Chair of the NIC Lord Adonis said: “5G is the future – ultra-fast and ultra-reliable, it has the potential to change our lives and our economy in ways we cannot even imagine today. But the UK is currently languishing in the digital slow lane.
“Britain is 54th in the world for 4G coverage, and the typical user can only access 4G barely half the time. Our 4G network is worse than Romania and Albania, Panama and Peru.”
Lord Adonis went on to say that 5G offers the country an opportunity to “start again and get ahead”. He said that if the government acts now, the UK can ensure its major transport networks and urban centres are 5G-ready in time to give industry the chance to lead the world in exploiting its applications.
According to the NIC, the government must take responsibility to secure the UK’s digital future. It suggested the creation of a “strong digital champion” which would be backed by a dedicated cabinet minister who would push change forward.
In its report, the NIC said that the government and Ofcom must ensure that essential outdoor mobile services are available wherever we live, work and travel.
The report also stated that those bodies should develop a “meaningful set of metrics that represent the coverage people actually receive and use these to determine a mobile Universal Service Obligation”. This would allow consumers to access essential mobile services where and when they are needed.
According to the NIC, this should be delivered as soon as possible but no later than 2025.