The new collaboration involving Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), Connected Places Catapult, global legal firm DWF and IT and telecoms consultancy FarrPoint aims to accelerate the installation of 4G and 5G networks across the country.
A recent study by Deloitte estimated that enhancements to wireless technologies could increase the nation’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.
The new programme will highlight the opportunities for 5G, communicate the legislative changes brought in by the European Electronic Communications Code, and create a series of standardised documents to support talks over its development.
Sarah Eynon, Infralink programme manager and associate director of the Scottish Futures Trust Digital Infrastructure team, said: “A mixture of complexity of process and new legislation has resulted in a ‘stand-off’ that could negatively impact 4G - and in time 5G connectivity.
“The Infralink team has identified that if we take a national approach to making the process of identifying a site and agreeing the terms of the lease more efficient, we have a stronger chance of Scotland leading the way in digital infrastructure deployment and connectivity. This will reduce the burden placed on both the public sector and industry, and should lead to quicker, collaborative results.
“We’re already speaking with an initial group of industry stakeholders, government agencies and local authorities to gather data and get valuable feedback on our proposed activities. We hope to shift the overall focus to concentrate on the opportunities available to everyone involved.”
Paul Coffey, chief executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, added: “At the moment, there is a disconnect between network operators and landowners and bringing these two groups together is an important step in creating our next generation of communications networks.
“5G is entirely different to the technologies that have come before. It will require a greater level of infrastructure to achieve the ubiquitous coverage needed to open up the many exciting opportunities for people, businesses and public services across the country.
“Accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G is a priority for The Scotland 5G Centre. By encouraging collaboration through projects such as Infralink and engaging with partners from across the UK, we hope to raise awareness of the benefits of 5G, while also addressing some of the misconceptions and challenges that might prevent people and businesses from getting involved.”
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