Berkshire and Bristol are among eight areas to receive government funding to accelerate the roll-out of 5G mobile phone connectivity.
The Government’s Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator competition offered grants of up to £500,000 from a pot of £4 million to identify ways of improving mobile connectivity.
The DCIA will be used to map out publicly-owned assets like buildings, land, and street furniture that is capable of housing mobile infrastructure.
The Berkshire Digital Infrastructure Group, representing the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the six Berkshire Local Authorities (West Berkshire, Bracknell Forest Council, Reading, Slough, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and Wokingham) was awarded £500,000 to deliver and achieve improved digital connectivity across the Thames Valley Region.
Lynne Wilson, Digital Infrastructure Project, programme manager said: “We are delighted to be included in the pilot phase of Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator project.
“With the challenges involved in rolling out wireless networks, this DCMS funding will help us to understand the best way to map existing and planned assets and help rollout wireless communications networks across the region.
“We are keen to explore just what can be done to benefit residents and businesses in the short and longer-term by using publicly-owned assets. All the hard work and research has paid off and we can’t wait to get started.”
The West of England Combined Authority’s Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator will receive £498,000.
Working with Three, BT Wholesale, and infrastructure operator Cellnex Connectivity Solutions the West of England Combined Authority’s Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator project will increase the roll-out and densification of 5G across Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “This is a great win for the West of England. It will help speed up the roll-out of digital networks that local people need and deserve.
“The West of England Combined Authority will now be able to accelerate the roll-out of wireless networks across our region improving digital connectivity.
“This will particularly help more rural communities – so local people can get even better access to online services vital for success in the modern world.
Digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez MP said: “Currently, mobile companies are finding it difficult to get the data they need to check that a lamppost, bus shelter or public building is suitable for hosting their kit.
“These eight pilots will help solve this by modernising the way local authorities and operators work together in a way that ultimately delivers faster, more reliable mobile coverage for millions of people.
“It is all part of our joined-up strategy to deliver world-class connectivity to every corner of our country.”
- The West Midlands also received £500,000. You can read about it here.