At the end of 2021, the West Midlands was named as the best 5G region in the country, thanks to our pioneering work removing roadblocks to establishing 5G networks. 

While we’re proud of this achievement, there is still a long way to go to ensure people and organisations across the country have the connectivity they need to communicate effectively and realise the full potential of digitisation. 

This is where a pioneering project we are currently working on comes in.  

During our initial DCMS Testbeds and Trials programmes, we collected asset data from a range of locations across the region that could be used to host 5G network infrastructure, for example buildings, land and street furniture. This was compiled into a connected map to trial if compiling and holding the data centrally would be useful for mobile network operators and infrastructure providers.  

The concept proved successful, enabling the deployment of both Macro and Small cells more quickly and efficiently than previously.

In recognition of this success, DMCS developed the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator, which is now supporting us to build on the learnings from this initial work to develop the platform so that it not only has a map interface but also includes workflows and interactions within a single platform.   

The aim? Simply to make it easier for vendors, service providers and public bodies to design and install the networks we need to make our region even better connected.

Advanced wireless networks, such as 5G, require a significantly greater amount of network infrastructure than existing networks. This new platform will help mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to identify key locations with 5G network installation potential, and will also automate elements of the deployment process, such as identifying land owners, highlighting likely rents and storing legal agreements around the use of such infrastructure.

Working with our software partners Sitenna and the seven local authorities within the West Midlands Combined Authority area, the project brings together key data in one, interactive platform that can be accessed by any organisation seeking to deploy 5G technologies across the region. 

Crucially, by making this data available centrally, and working to reduce variability where possible, we are confident we can speed up the process of finding site locations and then agreeing the valuation and commercial terms. This is the  longest part of the whole network deployment process but, by adopting this approach, in some cases we  could reduce the time it takes to roll out new networks by as much as six months.

We are now well underway with the project and excited by the potential it holds to support the development of new technology and innovations, in both our own region and further afield.

Contact us to find out more and check back regularly for further updates.