Connectivity… vital during lockdown and vital to our ‘bounce back’

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Connectivity… vital during lockdown and vital to our ‘bounce back’

Connectivity… vital during lockdown and vital to our ‘bounce back’

The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated that never before have we been so reliant on digital infrastructure. It has enabled us to keep essential services and businesses operating during lockdown, to work from home and to keep in touch with family and friends.

I have been amazed by how adaptable, imaginative and resilient we have all been when faced with a global crisis. Almost overnight, estate agents moved to virtual viewings, teachers replaced physical classrooms for virtual classrooms, care homes took advantage of video conferencing to enable residents in their care to stay in touch with loved ones. The list goes on…

This was all possible as a consequence of connectivity.

The New Code

The legislation governing our digital infrastructure, the means by which we’ve all managed to stay connected, was amended on 28 December 2017. It introduced a new Electronic Communications Code (“ECC”) to reduce costs and speed up the deployment of digital infrastructure but how does it intend to achieve that?

The ECC has established a new valuation scheme meaning rents are now based on the value of the land itself, rather than the value of the land to telecom operators. This results in significantly lower rents, enabling the telecom operators to reinvest the money they save on rent back into our digital infrastructure and in turn, we should start to see our connectivity improve.

Investment & Roll-Out of 5G

As we brace ourselves for a post Covid-19 future, that investment in digital infrastructure by the telecom operators, along with the UK’s roll-out of 5G, will play an essential part in us climbing our way out of a downturn.

Not only will 5G provide a wide range of benefits to us and our businesses, enhancing and improving our connectivity experience by things such as (to name a few):

  • robotics
  • ambulance patient triage
  • connected and automated transport
  • artificial intelligence

It’s estimated that 5G technology is worth £198bn to the UK economy. It’s expected to significantly boost UK competitiveness and create a significant number of new jobs which will help with rising unemployment. However, the telecom operators cannot achieve this alone.

Help is on the Way

The Government has recognised that help is needed if the UK wants to achieve its 5G aspirations and if UK citizens are all to benefit from even better connectivity.

It has announced reforms to planning laws that will enable telecom operators to expand their networks by building taller and wider masts, putting them on buildings nearer to roads and deploying radio equipment housings more quickly. It is also in discussions with those responsible for the “Speed Up Britain” campaign that is striving to close the loopholes in the ECC that are holding back some vital progress to our connectivity and the UK’s recovery. What can we do though to help improve connectivity and the UK’s recovery?

Closer to Home

The pandemic, I’m sure you’ll agree, has truly highlighted the importance of connectivity not just on a global and national scale but closer to home too and within our own ‘back yards’. Some great work has been done by local businesses based in Milton Keynes to grow my local digital infrastructure and improve connectivity in my community.

For example, Boxx Communications, a specialist provider of telephone and internet connectivity, has recently partnered with CityFibre, the UK’s third national infrastructure platform, in delivering the roll-out of a full fibre network in Milton Keynes. They recently delivered a 5Gbps connectivity solution to Milton Keynes University Hospital on the CityFibre network. Click here for more information on Gigabit MK. 

Dean Burgin, co-owner of Boxx, believes that this is an ideal time for businesses to invest in modern, future-proof internet connectivity.

“The last few months have been a challenge for everyone, but the potential for Milton Keynes to flourish is huge and CityFibre’s full fibre offering can give businesses the streamlined connectivity they need to take full advantage of modern digital services and compete effectively. As a CityFibre City Champion, we are equipped and eager to help businesses do that and gain a real competitive edge as they look to bounce back after the Coronavirus pandemic and build strong sustainable businesses.”

So what next?

Connectivity has been pivotal in enabling communities and businesses to function during the coronavirus crisis. The growth of digital infrastructure will be pivotal in helping rebuild the UK economy and ensuring continued and improved connectivity but how do we achieve that?

Government intervention is certainly part of the solution, as is the great work being undertaken by companies like Boxx and CityFibre and the campaigning by key players in the sector who are making their voices heard, but we probably all need to play our part here - through collaboration, compromise and communication - to ensure that we can build a resilient network which provides the CONNECTIVITY we so greatly need to be able to rely on in an ever-changing world.

Get in touch

For more information on this update, please contact Legal Director, Victoria Dobson.