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At all levels of government there is a continuing need to understand what social and economic benefits wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and LTE can offer, together with another requirement – to develop an awareness of how and at what cost these benefits can be realised. With 5G on the horizon, these needs will grow.

Wireless strategy is not just a concern of consumers or industry. It matters more than ever to government. Grasping concepts such as capacity management, future license terms, network slicing, the value of spectrum, effective competition and new digital business models is essential to understanding the many new ways in which wireless can help government to address social and economic needs

Is free Wi-Fi across key public areas of a major city viable? What are the policy implications of extending 4G coverage? How can spectrum allocation meet the essential needs of the UK’s emergency and public safety users? How critical a role will councils play in developing and delivering 5G digital infrastructure? How should ‘smart cities’ happen? How will major mergers between operators affect future infrastructure and spectrum requirements?

These are questions we have researched, are researching and have been instrumental in answering on behalf of authorities at local, regional, national and international level.

The list of those authorities is a long one, taking in Newcastle City Council, the UK Spectrum Policy Forum, the Scottish Government, Ofcom, the Public Safety Spectrum Policy Group, The Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the National Infrastructure Commission and the European Union.

And there will be many more questions as 5G offers both the potential for vastly improved public services and the challenge of making them work. We will continue to act as a key advisor to government and regulators on all these issues.

We will also question – and occasionally disagree with – policymakers. We are proud of our role as an independent, expert voice at a time of conflicting demands on government strategy and resources and believe such expertise has never been more necessary than it is today.

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