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Budget investment welcome - but 5G strategy focus on coverage and regulatory change is vital

08 March 2017


Professor Will Stewart, Vice President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology said: “The Budget investment in a 5G technology hub is welcome – as is the Government’s announcement today of a 5G strategy outlining an integrated approach to combining fibre and wireless networks to deliver 5G.

“5G has the potential to transform the UK economy, modernise industry and support the fast-growing digital social space so a bold and long-term strategy from Government is vital.

“But it’s important to stress that the 5G investment announced today will not come anywhere close to bridging the investment gap needed to deliver 5G across the UK - so the Government Strategy’s recognition that regulatory modernisation is needed to make the final bill of delivering 5G more affordable, for example by enabling operators to share networks, is pivotal.  

“The biggest challenge for Government will be improving coverage for all, as 5G cannot transform what it doesn’t cover. And achieving universal coverage for the UK, outside high-capacity urban areas, will not be affordable or achievable without regulatory change.

“Ultimately, delivering 5G is not a flash in the pan to be achieved in 2020 but a journey demanding deep and sustained levels of cooperation between governments, regulators, operators, vendors and vertical industries.”

The IET has today released a new guide, 5G Networks for Policy Makers, to help policy makers cut through the many, and potentially confusing, visions of 5G by identifying the policy levers that need to be pulled for the UK to roll out new 5G networks by 2020 –– and get them onto a track to make 5G transformational for the UK economy by 2025.

Notes to editors:

The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 168,000 members in 150 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century.