Unlocking future investment in fibre and mobile: practical deployment issues need to be resolved quickly
Analysys Mason has recently completed research into lowering barriers to telecoms infrastructure deployment,1 which applies to both fixed and mobile networks. After consultations with telecoms operators and local government highways and planning authorities in the UK, we identified 19 specific issues that are currently having a detrimental impact on the deployment of new telecommunications infrastructure. The issues identified in our study could potentially apply to any country.
There is a strong drive worldwide to invest in network infrastructure and to deploy new technologies with an even greater ability to meet the burgeoning demand for bandwidth. However, the business case can be challenging, and to compound these commercial challenges, telecoms operators often face practical deployment challenges across several fronts; ultimately, these challenges either lengthen deployment timescales, or increase deployment costs – or both.
In our study, we found that there was consensus and acknowledgement, from telecoms operators and local authorities, that a range of issues exist. To resolve these issues, the recommendations in our study focus on lowering barriers to unlock investment in new networks such as FTTP and 5G networks. The recommendations address key areas, which are summarised in the three tables below.
Figure 1: Summary of issues and recommendations on legislation and guidance related to street works [Source: Analysys Mason, 2017]
Figure 2: Summary of issues and recommendations on how street works schemes are implemented [Source: Analysys Mason, 2017]
Figure 3: Summary of issues and recommendations on approaches taken by operators to deployments [Source: Analysys Mason, 2017]
Although there were clearly tensions between the parties, particularly around the inconsistencies in the way guidance is interpreted, there was a desire from both telecoms operators and local authorities for a more-uniform, less adversarial approach; a better working relationship between operators and local authorities is a key enabler to help lower barriers to telecoms network deployment.
In summary, solving these issues and creating an environment suitable for telecoms network deployments is an important challenge for governments (national, regional and local), regulators and telecoms operators to solve. Our recommendations are positioned to enable all parties to play their part to overcome the issues and to help achieve the significant economic and social benefits that deployment of next-generation telecoms network infrastructure, such as fibre networks and 5G networks, can bring to citizens and businesses alike.
Analysys Mason advises governments, regulators, operators and investors on telecoms policy and business planning to address practical deployment and operational issues such as those identified above. Please contact Ian Adkins (Principal) for further information.
1 See Analysys Mason’s study report Lowering barriers to telecoms infrastructure deployment. Available at: www.analysysmason.com/Lowering-barriers-to-telecoms-infrastructure-deployment.