Mobile connectivity matters for business
We know that fast, reliable, future-proof digital infrastructure isn’t just a ‘nice to have’; it’s the lifeblood of digital adoption, flexible working and regional economic growth. Businesses need fast, reliable and future-proof digital infrastructure to embrace the digital technologies of today and tomorrow.
Yet there are large swathes of the country where this simply isn’t the case. From connecting field and construction workers to people working flexibly, mobile ‘not-spots’ can stop employees in their tracks and dampen a company’s ambition for digital adoption and deepen regional inequalities.
The CBI’s Ready Set Connect report called for radical policy change to support rural mobile
The CBI has long been vocal on business connectivity; our Ready Set Connect report set out a clear roadmap for government to deliver digital connectivity at a digital pace – including committing funding and removing the barriers to rollout.
We called on government to:
- Commit to supporting mobile connectivity as strongly as fibre networks
- Target public funding at mobile not-spots
- Ease planning restrictions on mobile infrastructure.
Without bold action to embrace world-class digital infrastructure, the digital revolution is in danger of buffering.
Businesses can now expect significant policy change and a £1bn boost to eliminate mobile not-spots across the UK
In late October, the government adopted CBI recommendations to make sweeping improvements to rural connectivity.
1) The government backed an innovative industry-led proposal called the Shared Rural Network, in which mobile operators share their mobile infrastructure to improve UK coverage. This will unlock investment in ‘not-spots’ and contribute £1bn for the hardest to reach areas. This Shared Rural Network would bring additional mobile coverage to 280,000 homes and businesses as well as 16,000km of roads.
CBI Digital and Innovation Director Felicity Burch was quoted on the BBC, noting that this radical policy change will unleash investment in world-class digital connectivity and make the UK match-fit for the digital revolution.
2) This Autumn, government also held a consultation on planning reform to support extending mobile coverage and deploying 5G, closely mirroring our recommendations. The CBI submitted a response to the consultation, highlighting the unprecedented opportunity this consultation presents to deliver future proof business connectivity and make the UK a 5G world-leader. We’ve called for ambitious and quick reforms to planning restrictions that will make a tangible difference to extending mobile coverage and deploying 5G.
These proposed reforms to support mobile connectivity are a leap towards making the UK match-fit for the digital revolution. They will accelerate connectivity and technology adoption in the hardest-to-reach parts of the country, unlocking flexible working and firing up regional growth.
But our work doesn’t stop here.
The CBI will continue our steady engagement with government and the mobile industry to ensure that digital connectivity is a priority during the general election and that any future government delivers these policy changes effectively and quickly to support world-class business connectivity.
For further information and/or to see a copy of the CBI’s mobile connectivity planning reform response, please contact Susannah Odell.