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The document below outlines areas identified as important to consider by attendees at the Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR)’s roundtable on 5G and ensuring connectivity for all which took place on Monday 3 December. Guests were asked to respond with one key message, as attributed below. Please note the below are based on notes taken at the event and are not direct quotes.

  • Bringing industry and Government together is important. To understand how demand can meet supply we all need to be speaking the same language. – Cristina Data, Ofcom
  • There is an opportunity to get a lot more people involved in the digital economy and increase the business case for 5G. A diverse and adaptable 5G will enhance rural coverage and can be good for everyone. – Professor Will Stewart, The IET

  • We need to be championing connectivity for all as rising digital inequality becomes an unintended consequence of our tech-dependent age. We should be aiming to close the digital divide by increasing UK-wide connectivity. – Rachel Neaman, Neaman Consulting 
  • Emerging technology can enhance the digital economy and techUK are looking forward to what 5G brings to the table going forward. – Sophie Weston, techUK 
  • We need to look to international standards and build and sustain UK leadership in 5G. – John O’Sullivan, Thames Communications 
  • Don’t forget about the costs of deployment when rolling out 5G and increased connectivity. –Matt Evans, Broadband Stakeholder Group 
  • Solutions to modern challenges that could be available as a result of good 5G rollout are significant. This should be motivating to industry and Government. – Esmat Mirzamany, Jisc 
  • Do not forget the boringly basic network construction skills (quality as well as quantity) on which everything else depends. –Philip Virgo, Wired West Norwood 
  • Connectivity can increase both productivity and inclusion, but provision needs to take in to account public good alongside market and technological innovation. – Miranda Sharp, Ordnance Survey 
  • It’s an exciting time in telecoms with 5G coming in. And this is a critical year. We need to ask ourselves what we are good at and how 5G can transform that. – Mansoor Hanif, Ofcom 
  • Above all, we need reliable structures. For this, we can look to utility-like models and extend the business case for 5G. –Itret Latif, Federation of Communications Services 
  • Let’s try and be different about how we do 5G and make it a different “G” by truly bringing innovation to connectivity solutions. –Simon McCalla, Nominet 
  • If we want to be successful, we need to focus on the UK’s strengths and demonstrate the rate of return on investment for businesses that are adopting these technologies. We also need evaluation to see where and how to increase productivity. –Phil Young, Digital Catapult 
  • We should be sharing spectrum and infrastructure if we want to be leaders in 5G. To extend connectivity, we need to enable business models which support increasing connectivity and consider how smaller players can be involved. –Pasquale Cataldi, Nominet 
  • Put people at the heart of the connectivity discussion. We need to remember the consumers who are using the technology first and foremost. –Ahmed Kotb, The IET 
  • It’s important to have even better rollout for connectivity. Connectivity needs to be at a certain level across the UK. –Austin Wilson, Jisc 
  • The business case is challenging because we are unsure about 5G’s USPs. We need to consider the applications needed to support the future. –Julian McGougan, techUK 
  • Above all else, consumer needs underpin all connectivity discussions. -Molly Kearney, Ofcom 
  • Innovation in how we allocate 5G mobile spectrum, including through sharing, stands to complement not inhibit a competitive rollout. –Justin Kempley, Nominet 
  • Share spectrum and think innovatively to expand connectivity across the UK. The Government owns large amounts of wi-fi such as eduroam. Perhaps all public wi-fi could be opened up to consumers. –William Webb, Webb Search 
  • Coverage can transform the economy. Delivering economically viable coverage needs the Government and industry to do what they can to extend sharing across the UK. –Anirban Roy, Arqiva 
  • Now is the right time to look at innovative approaches. Yet we need to proceed with caution because the industry model that we have now works well. –Richard Wainer, BT 
  • Expanding connectivity is a socio-technical challenge. To solve this industry, policy-makers and academia need to come together and develop a trustworthy system to take us into the future. – Professor Carsten Maple, University of Warwick 
  • To further expand connectivity, it’s time to do something different with spectrum policy. – Adam Leach, Nominet


Please note: This document includes the minutes of the meeting. This is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The views expressed in this report are those of the group.


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