The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced a new £4m scheme which it claims will “help local authorities cut red tape” and support telecom operators to install more 4G and 5G kit.
The Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) scheme forms part of the government’s wider ‘Levelling Up’ agenda. It will see eight projects across England and Scotland receive support to create digital software to simplify the actions local authorities need to take when telecoms operators ask for access to publicly-owned buildings and curbside infrastructure including street lights and bus shelters.
Amid what the government described as “a surging demand for connectivity”, publicly-owned infrastructure such as road signs and CCTV poles can be used to improve 4G coverage and form the key to the rollout of 5G, which demands a larger number of smaller cell sites. These sites involve antennas and other telecoms equipment being placed to form a network.
Under the scheme, telecoms firms are to get easier access to public buildings and street lights, bus shelters and traffic lights in 44 English and Scottish council areas in what Digital Infrastructure minister Julia Lopez hopes will deliver “the UK the connectivity it needs by rolling out better mobile coverage as quickly as possible”.
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