The accelerated rollout of advanced wireless networks, including 5G, will bring benefits to the UK economy and communities across the country. There are a number of challenges in the deployment of wireless networks, and this project specifically explores those involved in using publicly owned infrastructure assets to support the roll out of advanced wireless connectivity (this could include, for example, putting 5G equipment into street lights).

As the next major milestone in the DCIA project DCMS will allocate up to £4 million of funding to pilots which support the implementation of digital asset management solutions to open up public assets for the rollout of wireless communication networks.

Potential participants are invited to register for the competition briefing event on Wednesday 15th of September.

Click here for further background information and updates for the DCIA project (this includes information on the four project workstreams):

  1. Digital Asset Management
  2. PFI Contracts
  3. Standard Contracts
  4. Standards for Smart Infrastructure

The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) highlighted the government’s commitment to high quality mobile connectivity where people live, work and travel. Advanced wireless networks (including 5G) are likely to entail greater deployment of digital infrastructure, including on publicly available assets (such as land, buildings and street furniture) to provide extra capacity in specific locations.

The Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) will help accelerate both investment in and the deployment of advanced wireless networks. The pilot competition supports this aim by helping to create efficiencies for local authorities and network providers using publicly available assets to support digital infrastructure.

Market engagement with Local Authorities has shown that both cost and timescales are both significant barriers in using publicly owned assets for digital infrastructure. To address this, DCMS is launching this competition with the aim of making the transactions between public sector location asset owners and telecommunications companies as frictionless as possible, lowering costs of site acquisition and accelerating the rollout of digital connectivity across participating regions.

The regions and their Local Authorities funded through this competition will work with industry partners to pilot a digital asset management platform to build evidence on how the digital mapping and brokerage of assets can benefit mobile network operators and their network delivery partners, users of mobile services (business and consumer) and the public sector, who are the primary providers of assets for hosting network equipment. A draft technical design specification outlines the minimum requirements for a digital asset management platform and has been co-developed with mobile telecommunication infrastructure providers (including all four major Mobile Network Operators), local authorities, government partners, and potential solution providers. Successful bidders are expected to source digital asset management platforms in line with functionality as described in the specification.

Who can apply?

This is an open competition, requiring submission from Regional or Local Authorities, with DCMS funding available for activity taking place in the UK.

Please note the following eligibility criteria for the grant funding:

Bids will be from a local or regional lead authority who will be the prime recipient of grant funding and who will be responsible for managing activities and for allocation of grant funding to its own partners.

Lead regional applicants will be accepted on the basis of existing political/geographic entities (regional authorities).

We will also consider applications from a group of multiple Local Authorities that have a contiguous geography; these applicants will be asked to demonstrate a signed collaboration agreement between themselves prior to any claim to DCMS for grant funding for the pilot.

Pilot projects are expected to run from January-December 2022.