The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

The UK’s Connectivity Problem

The UK’s Connectivity Problem
06 April 2022
 

If the UK is to “level up", connecting communities must be high on the agenda, according to Cluttons.

In this opinion piece, Darren Zitren, Partner and Head of Network Estate Management at Cluttons, explains the importance of connectivity in the UK becoming a world-leader in infrastructure.

Darren is a Chartered Surveyor specialising in estate management, with extensive knowledge of landlord and tenant. He provides advice on all aspects of estate management, including lease renewals, rent reviews and management issues.

 

 

“Could we find ourselves in the situation where a sort of postcode lottery emerges whereby those that live in an area which is supported by a digital champion may well benefit from better connectivity thanks to know-how and more effective telecoms relationships? “

 

 

Connecting Communities

 

Connectivity is key to jobs, performance and investment, but also for education, health and social care. If one region is more connected than others then we, as a nation, have failed in our mission to level up. This cannot be fixed overnight – after all, there are still some parts of the UK that have little to no connection at all – the notorious not-spots, mainly confined to rural areas.  

But these will need to be fixed if we want to regain our place as a world leader in infrastructure and support the notion of hybrid working supporting (rather than hampering) increased productivity. 

 

Image

Picture: a photograph of Darren Zitren. Image Credit: Cluttons

 

15% of Consumers Have Inconsistent Signal Strength

 

Our latest research, completed in partnership with YouGov found that even today, 15 per cent of consumers said they had inconsistent signal strength in their house on a daily basis. 

When delving deeper, we found that there were several key challenges that was hampering the rollout – most notably a major lack of understanding of 5G and Gigabit -  by MPs, consumers and councillors; a lack of funding, an unhelpful planning process and not enough collaboration between local authorities, landowners and digital infrastructure providers - the latter of which needs a boost to align our digital ambitions. 

Councillors reporting that their local authority had a digital strategy in place (under half according to our findings) were four times more likely to say their authority has an effective relationship with electronic communications network operators and are doing enough to smooth the way for communications infrastructure roll out and equipment, and three times more likely to believe they had the information they needed to raise awareness and understanding, and to promote and improve connectivity as a priority for the local area.  Under a third have appointed a ‘digital champion’. 

 

The Regional Gap in Connectivity

 

Could we find ourselves in the situation where a sort of postcode lottery emerges whereby those that live in an area that is supported by a digital champion may well benefit from better connectivity thanks to know-how and more effective telecoms relationships? 

This is not in the spirit of levelling up which aims to ensure that where you live does not limit your opportunities.

But if connectivity is critical to jobs, investment and education, for example, then the most connected regions will perform better and more regional gaps will develop. Connecting the UK therefore must be a priority and we would like to see a much greater proportion of “levelling up” funding diverted to the crucial development of infrastructure in order to make this happen. 

Not only will we be sharing our findings across the industry, with local authorities and key stakeholders, in the spirit of much-needed collaboration we will also be gathering together a group of subject matter experts to form recommendations that aim to provide solutions. Connectivity affects everyone but we believe the property industry can play a crucial role in helping the government navigate these challenges. 

As per the Public Accounts Committee report - we are behind on the government target of 85 per cent technical coverage by 2025 with 100 per cent as soon as possible thereafter and we risk further slippage. This is not quick enough - it’s time we all worked together to help the UK get back on track to meet our targets, connect communities and supercharge the UK’s  Gigabit roll-out. 

For those who wish to get involved, visit https://www.cluttons.com/insights/property-market-research/1034-connecting-the-uk 

Picture: a photograph of a 5G telecommunication tower on a city background Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Article written by Darren Zitren | Published 06 April 2022

Share



Related Articles

Mitie Passes £1m in Apprenticeship Levy Gifting

Mitie has passed the £1 million milestone for its Apprenticeship Levy gifting, committing to support a range of SMEs across England since January 2021. Through...

 Read Full Article
Is 5G the Catalyst Needed to Fight Climate Change?

The accelerated roll-out of 5G connectivity across Europe and the UK will have an immediate and catalysing impact in reducing CO2 emissions, according to a new study...

 Read Full Article
Mitie Acquires DAEL Ventures UK for £15 Million

Mitie has acquired DAEL Ventures UK, together with its subsidiaries DAEL Telecom, JB Towers and JISTICS. Mitie already provides maintenance and engineering services...

 Read Full Article
Huawei The Lads – Clandestine Chinese Tech Co Gets Partial 5G OK

Restrictions should be placed on the use of high-risk 5G vendors such as Huawei – but that doesn't exclude the Chinese Government owned firm from being...

 Read Full Article
The Speechmark Makes You Speechless

Fronted by curved glass and framed in slate black, The Speechmark is arguably now one of the most striking buildings in Southwark – an area of London already...

 Read Full Article
It's G Jim - But Not As We Know It

5G will transform not just the speed of our mobile phones but also how our properties can communicate with each other, yet the average John, Jan, Jessica or Jim knows...

 Read Full Article
To Have And To Have Not - Connectivity Not Always A Given

BT may have decided that all its offices need to have super-fast connectivity but that is not a luxury all London landlords can offer, writes Nick Dutfield. Arguably...

 Read Full Article
5G Testbeds Secure Funding

The government has announced the winners of a £25 million competition to pave the way for a future rollout of 5G technology in the UK. The move came just before...

 Read Full Article
What Does The Coronavirus Bill Mean For Commercial Landlords and Tenants?

The Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022 has recently been passed into law – ending the extended moratorium on tenant evictions for non-payment of...

 Read Full Article
UK Councils Need More Resources to Start Delivering on Net-Zero

50 UK-wide council representatives were interviewed about their net-zero strategies, and the results indicate a feeling that significantly more support and resources are...

 Read Full Article