Street lights, traffic lights and bus shelters will have more 5G kit installed in a bid to boost mobile coverage across the UK.
The Government has announced it is slashing council red tape to make it easier for telecoms companies to put in antennas on public infrastructure.
Phone users need to be closer to so-called 5G ‘cell sites’ in order to receive good signal – as the mobile network, though quicker, has a smaller range. Firms are able to create mini phone masts around towns and cities by installing the kit into street furniture, such as road signs and CCTV poles.
But the process of identifying places to put them has so far proved ‘difficult and time consuming’ – and has held up the roll-out.
Ministers have today announced a £4million fund to find software that will simplify the process for councils and telecom companies to identify suitable places to put them.
The Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator will look for suitable locations that have the right dimensions, access to a power source, and are close to the street.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said: ‘We are determined to get the UK the connectivity it needs by rolling out better mobile coverage as quickly as possible.
‘Currently, mobile companies are finding it difficult to get the data they need to check that a lamppost, bus shelter or public building is suitable for hosting their kit,’ she added.
‘These eight pilots will help solve this by modernising the way local authorities and operators work together in a way that ultimately delivers faster, more reliable mobile coverage for millions of people.’
The 5G network is the next generation of mobile internet connection and offers download speeds up to 100 times that of 4G, making mobile phones much faster and able to process ever-larger amounts of data.