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WMCA to use connected maps in 5G roll out


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is planning to test an interactive map and marketplace solution to automate elements of rolling out 5G infrastructure.

It has highlighted the plan after winning a £500,000 award from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport under the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) programme.

The pilot project will involve mapping out the region’s publicly owned assets such as buildings, land and street furniture that is capable of housing mobile infrastructure.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Now we will roll up our sleeves and get to work on testing an interactive map and marketplace solution to automate key elements of the process of 5G deployment, accelerating delivery and roll out, bringing efficiencies to both operators and local authorities. 

Maximum benefit

“This will help to drive forward new technology and innovations for the maximum benefit of citizens and businesses in our region.”

The region has been the first to produce a connected map through its public-private programme WM5G. More than 400,000 assets have been mapped to-date along with the creation of simplified processes and standardised agreements for mobile network rollout and site upgrades.

WMCA said this has already allowed quicker access to assets, reducing deployment timeframes by six months.

On a micro level, the pilot will add automation and further standardisation to the acquisition process, and at a macro level should increase connectivity in the region.

Robert Franks, managing director at WM5G, said: “This pilot will help us accelerate the levelling up the region through faster and more widespread deployment of 5G, aligning to the strategic objectives of the WMCA, and ambitions of the region’s local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.”

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