Street lights to be home to 5G antennas as part of new scheme

People in Angus, Dundee, Fife, and Perth and Kinross will benefit from a pilot of the scheme.

Street lights to be home to 5G antennas as part of new scheme iStock

Next generation phone masts are set to be bolted on to streetlights in Scotland as part of a scheme to boost connectivity.

The smaller wavelength of 5G phone signals means they can carry much more data.

Now, as part of a UK Government pilot scheme, network providers will have easier access to public buildings, traffic lights, and signs. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport says this will help cut red tape and allow engineers to install more 4G and 5G kit.

Julia Lopez, digital infrastructure minister, said the pilots will modernise how local authorities and operators work together to deliver “faster, more reliable mobile coverage for millions of people”.

She said: “Everyone gets frustrated when their mobile signal is poor, particularly when patchy coverage holds up important work and social calls and makes it harder to do stuff online.

“That is why we are determined to get the UK the connectivity it needs by rolling out better mobile coverage as quickly as possible.”

In Scotland, people in Angus, Dundee, Fife, Perth and Kinross will benefit from the pilot.

As part of the pilot, eight winning projects will receive a share of the £4 million Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator.

This will work out how software can make it easier for telecom operators to get information about publicly owned buildings and curb-side infrastructure.

The software being tested by the UK Government will enable local councils to more easily share the data mobile phone firms need to speed up their rollout plans, the digital ministry said.

And because operators are putting the masts on structures that are already there, fewer standalone masts will be needed as the networks rush to expand mobile coverage.

Gareth Elliott, director of policy and communications of Mobile UK, said: “Reducing the time it takes to deploy mobile infrastructure is important to enable mobile operators to roll out 4G and 5G across the country and to meet ambitious government targets.”

If successful, the digital ministry said, the technology could be rolled out to other council areas across the UK.

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