UK gov releases 5G guidance to fuel post-pandemic recovery

The guide asks local councils to facilitate connectivity access and ‘tackle misinformation about 5G safety’

The UK government has published an official guide that maps out how councils can contribute to facilitating the rollout of gigabit broadband and 5G mobile coverage.

Digital Infrastructure minister Matt Warman and Local Government minister Simon Clarke have written to local authorities to ask them to acknowledge and comply with the latest advice on land access and valuations. 

The government hopes that this guidance will make it easier and faster for telecommunications operators to gain access to public land in order to carry out works for new networks infrastructure, such as 5G masts and full-fibre broadband cabinets.

According to Clarke, “councils play a critical role in delivering high-speed broadband and this new guidance will help them roll out this vital infrastructure more easily”.

“I want councils up and down the country to ensure their communities benefit from faster internet connections and better connectivity,” he said. “This will help to drive growth locally and is part of this government’s mission to level up every area of our country and help local areas to recover after the pandemic.”

The new guidance also addresses 5G conspiracy theories and offers recommendations for councils on how to dispel them. These debunked conspiracies have lead to a series of arson attacks on 5G infrastructure and incidents of abuse towards engineers. 

Warman said that he is “writing to local authorities with new guidance and advice to help them break down some of the barriers to rollout and give them the tools they need to quell quack theories about 5G”.

Warman, who has been the minister for Digital Infrastructure since July 2019, described the “access to fast and reliable connectivity” as “a top priority for this government”.

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

The guidance comes just over a month after the government decided to remove Huawei equipment from the country's 5G network by 2027 on the grounds of national security. It is still unclear which companies will be chosen as a substitute. 

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