Brent hails open access era for West London telecoms

Leading telecoms infrastructure provider announces long-term agreement with London council as part of bid to ensure improvements in mobile coverage and capacity across the borough

As part of a plan by a number of West London boroughs to develop better ways of working with telecom operators, making it quicker and easier to improve networks, Brent Council and independent wireless telecoms infrastructure provider Cellnex UK have signed a long-term agreement that will ensure improvements in mobile connectivity continue across the borough.

Brent is one of seven boroughs in London that make up the West London Alliance, a partnership between the local authorities of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, and Hounslow collaborating on strategic issues including digital connectivity.

Through the West London Alliance’s digital programme, West London boroughs are pursuing the shared aim of using cutting-edge technology to provide improved public services, reduce inequality and cut carbon emissions.

To date, it has secured around £10m in funding for key digital projects designed to unlock further investment and remove barriers to building the integrated advanced fibre and Wi-Fi networks which will help West London become a modern, thriving economy, driving innovation, growth, productivity and long-term employment opportunities.

As part of the latest deal, and under the borough’s digital strategy, Brent Council will provide access to lighting columns for Cellnex UK to deploy small cell technology used by Mobile Network Operators to increase mobile coverage and capacity. Offering residents and businesses world-class connectivity is key to delivering Brent’s ambition to become a truly digital borough.

Cellnex already provides connectivity in Brent, and claims small cells have been widely accepted as a crucial part of advancing mobile infrastructure in the UK, given their capacity to boost vital connectivity and coverage in localised areas. The agreement is designed to allow Cellnex to continue to provide mobile operators with access to sites in the borough to quickly and cost-effectively deliver coverage to people and businesses.

The package is further supported by West London Alliance’s Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator, one of eight DSIT pilots designed to develop digital asset management services for the mapping and brokerage of publicly owned assets for use in the roll-out of wireless communication networks. This means, said Cellnex, residents and businesses can access faster and more reliable services sooner, and will be well placed to reap the economic and social benefits of next-generation technology.

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The project’s activity has included moving to an open-access approach, which allows assets to be used by multiple operators to maximise connectivity and is championed by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

“It’s exciting to see the innovative approach to digital infrastructure taken by Brent Council and its partners being such a success,” said Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt. “The enhanced connectivity will support our residents and business now, and into the future, as new opportunities continue to present themselves.”

Cellnex UK commercial director Paul Stonadge, said: “During the past three years, our reliance on mobile connectivity increased immensely, as we tried hard to work from home, educate our children and stay in touch with friends and family.

“As we strive to support economic recovery and reduce digital inequalities across London and the UK, it has become even more critical to speed up deployment and ensure the resilience of our networks through innovative and forward-thinking partnerships like this with Brent Council.”

West London Alliance director David Francis said: “We are delighted that the WLA’s digital programme – a seven-borough collaboration – is supporting boroughs to adopt new ways of working with the operators which are delivering investment to West London.

“By sending the message that West London is ‘open to access’ we will not only improve mobile connectivity for all, but create opportunities to tackle digital exclusion and support business innovation, by ensuring all residents and businesses can access affordable, secure and reliable connectivity,” he said.

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