Rural communities set for 5G boost with taller masts and £30 million competition
Government consultation on relaxing planning rules in bid to banish mobile blackspots.
Taller mobile masts may be on their way as part of a bid to get rid of rural phone reception blackspots.
The Government has launched a consultation on proposals to simplify planning rules in order to improve rural coverage and support the roll-out of 5G.
The potential changes include:
- taller new masts to deliver better coverage
- allowing existing masts to be upgraded for 5G without needing prior approval
- allowing building-based masts nearer roads.
The current maximum height for masts on public land is 25 metres.
Spreading mobile coverage
Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan says: “We’re investing millions so the whole country can grasp the opportunities and economic benefits of next-generation 5G technology.
“In modern Britain, people expect to be connected wherever they are. And so we’re committed to securing widespread mobile coverage and must make sure we have the right planning laws to give the UK the best infrastructure to stay ahead.”
5G investment incentive
The move comes at the same time as the launch of a Government competition to help rural communities seize the opportunities of 5G technology.
Up to 10 rural locations will be chosen to run trials of 5G applications and stimulate investment in the technology.
5G is already being used on innovative rural projects – for example, monitoring salmon fisheries in the Orkney Islands and improving the efficiency of windfarms. The new £30 million funding will build on projects like these.
Holly Niblett from Compare the Market says: “5G has the potential for huge benefits and it’s vital that everyone has access to them, regardless of where they live. However, there are still some places in the UK where 4G isn’t available or where reception is patchy, so we have some way to go.”