WM5G collaboration set to boost city council's digital connectivity


In Summary

General | 1st May 2023
Birmingham City Council has agreed the first Open Access agreements with Telecoms infrastructure providers to use council lampposts to host so-called ‘small cells’.

In Detail

Birmingham City Council has successfully completed the signing of the first contracts that will speed up access to the city assets, resulting in faster deployment of 5G across the city.

The local authority agreed the first Open Access agreements with Telecoms infrastructure providers to use council lampposts to host ‘small cells’, which are set to add greater network coverage and device connection capacity for mobile networks where large masts alone cannot meet user needs.

The contracts were signed in record time thanks to support from WM5G, with the small cells open licencing agreement being led by the Digital City and Highways teams in the Council.

Rhys Enfield, director of Infrastructure Acceleration at WM5G, explained: “As we head into the Internet of Things age, the need for fast, reliable internet connections and increased capacity has never been greater. If we’re to realise the full benefits of the digital age, small cells – which can be hosted on publicly-owned assets such as street lamps, buildings and street furniture – have a key role to play providing secure, reliable mobile networks.

“The administrative process involved in identifying suitable locations and getting the right legal agreements and contracts in place typically takes more than 12 months to complete – adding cost and delay to the process. However, thanks to support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA), we have been able to work more closely to reduce this timescale to less than two months.”

Peter Bishop, Director for Digital and Customer Services at Birmingham City Council, said: “We’re proud to be among the leading Councils in the country to agree Open Access Agreements that will enable the roll out of crucial telecoms infrastructure across Birmingham much more quickly. As well as improving coverage and bandwidth, it will also improve service continuity, which will be crucial to supporting digital innovations, such as the safe operation of autonomous vehicles, as well as buildings, infrastructure monitoring and remote healthcare. It will also play a key role improving digital inclusion across the city.”

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