“The key to rapid nationwide fibre deployment happens before a fibre cable is even laid – and this early insight will be critical to the cost-effective roll-out of Fibre to the home (FTTH) and 5G mobile.” That was the message from Steve Birdsall, CEO of surveying and mobile mapping specialist Gaist, speaking on the opening day of the Connected Britain conference (Business Design Centre, London, 18-19 June).
He stressed the need for detailed mapping of the type and condition of UK highway assets in advance of any installation work. This, he said, would help network providers create accurate business cases and budgets and, thereby, make informed decisions that reduced the risk of unexpected delays and disruption, as well as cost and time overruns.
That message has certainly not been lost on Ordnance Survey, which has spent the last year in partnership with Intel’s MobilEye subsidiary trialling AI-driven data capture techniques to deliver just this type of detailed street mapping (see page 52 this issue).
With a recent report estimating that 5G will enable US$12.3 trillion of global economic output in 2035, the UK government has put its weight behind ensuring the nation is at the forefront of 5G developments. Yet implementing a 5G infrastructure has already hit a snag, with wrangles over how much rent councils, landowners and others can charge mobile operators to mount 5G transmitters and sensors on lampposts and other tall structures. According to a recent report in The Guardian, a new tribunal system designed to resolve these disputes, is already backlogged with dozens of cases and threatens to delay the 5G roll-out of 5G by at least two years.