March 7, 2021

Infralink: New nationwide toolkit for Scotland launched to help facilitate faster mobile deployment and connectivity

infralink, 5g, mobile, shared rural network, SRN, Mobile UK
  • Nationwide toolkit expected to lead to faster deployment and more investment in mobile connectivity

The Infralink programme is led by infrastructure experts, the Scottish Futures Trust, and is funded by The Scotland 5G Centre.  The programme has engaged with public sector property owners and telecoms providers to take a national approach in streamlining and simplifying the network roll-out process. It is hoped that this new inaitive will lead to faster deployment and more investment in mobile connectivity.

The new suite of tools will help to identify suitable sites for telecoms equipment and facilitate the efficient agreement of commercial terms. It delivers one of the key actions of the 5G Strategy for Scotland – publishing  updated rental guidance. Launched today on a public website, a set of standardised leases and payment guidance will take account of the parties’ interests in rural and urban areas and support commercial negotiations all in compliance with new legislation. Then, later this year, a connectivity marketplace will be available, allowing the public sector and other land and property owners to exchange relevant information with mobile operators about eligible assets and future connectivity needs, and be the starting point for proactive discussions. Thecomplete set of tools will apply to land, building and street assets as well as 4G, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) technology in rural and urban settings.

This new initiative follows the recent announcement under the £1billion Shared Rural Network programme that 124 mobile masts will be erected in a bid to improve coverage in rural areas of Scotland and to reduce ‘notspots’ – places without mobile phone service. The exact number and location of masts will be subject to the companies finding suitable sites, agreeing the commercial terms and securing the necessary planning permissions - the Infralink programme will provide crucial support to help facilitate this.

Further information about the Shared Rural Network can be found here. A recent announcement regarding new sites and investment by the four mobile operators can be read here.

The Scottish government's connectivity minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said:

“The changes in the way we use digital technology to stay connected over the past twelve months have shown just what a vital role reliable digital connectivity plays in all of our lives. Continued investment in mobile infrastructure, and the tools to remove barriers and make collaboration straightforward for all parties involved is essential to Scotland’s social and economic recovery. The Infralink programme provides a major step forward in accelerating our commitment to next-generation connectivity, as set out in our 5G strategy for Scotland.”  

Hamish MacLeod, Director of Mobile UK, which represents the UK mobile operators, commented:

“Infralink is a welcome and innovative programme that will build new partnerships between the public and private sectors while breaking down barriers towards achieving Scotland’s digital connectivity ambitions.”

Sarah Eynon of Scottish Futures Trust and Infralink Programme Lead said:

"The Infralink programme provides the ideal opportunity for forward thinking local authorities and public sector organisations to reap the huge benefits from improved connectivity without overburdening their current resources. It offers a win-win situation for both the public sector and operators, but Scottish citizens and businesses will reap the ultimate rewards.”  

Infralink is working with Connected Places Catapult, global legal business DWF, and IT and telecoms consultancy FarrPoint along with local authorities, agencies and the mobile sector to create this new toolkit.​ 

Further information and contact details regarding the Infralink programme can be found here.

About Building Mobile Britain

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

See here for further information - or #BuildingMobileBritain

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