Mobile broadband: Will planning changes ease UK roll-out?


The Government is seeking views on whether tweaking planning regulations will speed up the deployment of mobile broadband in the UK.

The consultation, launched last week, is open until 14 June and if changes are given the green light, will reduce the red tape involved in building the necessary infrastructure to support mobile broadband services.

We know that broadband is a key plank of business infrastructure and essential to creating jobs.

More specifically, changes to where operators can position masts on buildings are being considered, as well as encouraging greater use of mast-sharing, increased use of microcell' antennae and other measures designed to reduce the need to build more masts at ground level.

This, the Government claims, will benefit business growth as well as creating jobs two areas that are necessary for the health of the wider economy.

The majority (92 per cent) of people in the UK own a mobile phone, with more than a third (39 per cent) of these devices supporting web access, according to Government figures. Those numbers are expected to swell massively between now and 2030, resulting in an 80-fold increase in demand for mobile capacity.

Demand will undoubtedly outstrip supply unless the infrastructure building process is eased, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which have jointly launched the consultation. Though they were keen to stress the changes will not adversely impact environmental or protected land considerations.

"Broadband is essential for driving economic growth and we are transforming broadband in the UK by tripling speeds and getting 10 million more homes and business online. We know that broadband is a key plank of business infrastructure and essential to creating jobs," Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said in a statement.

"Demand for mobile broadband in particular is increasing at a phenomenal rate. We need to ensure that businesses and individuals can access this as soon as possible, if its full potential as driver for growth is to be realised."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.