National Connectivity Alliance launched to bring together industry and landowners to deliver world-class connectivity

The National Connectivity Alliance (the NCA) is a newly launched alliance of telecommunications providers, infrastructure providers, landowners and their professional advisers. The Alliance brings together these stakeholders to collaborate on areas of mutual interest with the goal of delivering world-class connectivity for all in the UK.

Digital connectivity is fundamental to the growth and success of the UK economy. Communities depend on reliable connectivity to stay connected; to ensure social inclusion; to enable businesses to embrace digital technology; and, to open up new markets and simplify supply chains.

Recognising the need to build strong relationships with each other to deliver on this goal, the Alliance will bring together these stakeholders to work on issues of mutual interest, improve co-operation and to share best practice.  Strong relationships between all parties, whether in relation to the search for a new site location or maintaining existing sites, will ensure better connectivity can be rolled out across the country more quickly and efficiently, and in turn support the Government’s digital ambitions.

To learn more about the National Connectivity Alliance, read Mobile UK’s press release here

How mobile connectivity can transform the delivery of adult social care


Digital connectivity, particularly 5G, has the potential to transform technology applications across different sectors, boosting efficiency and productivity.  In its latest report Connected Care, Mobile UK looks at the significant potential mobile connectivity offers to help councils and health care providers overcome the challenges of delivering adult social care as they face increasing social care demand and shrinking resources.

Significant advances are being made in digital technologies that are enabled by mobile connectivity. These advances enable adult social care to be delivered more cost effectively, without compromising on quality. One example is the range of new digital devices that will mean adults who have care and support needs can live independently for longer, alleviating the pressure on councils to provide residential care for their residents. Another example is remote care. A trial has found that remote monitoring to ensure that medication is taken appropriately can reduce hospital admissions by more than 50%.

Here are some examples of digital applications enabled by mobile connectivity within adult social care:

Remote consultation/diagnosis

High quality connectivity, such as 5G, enables medical professionals to interact with patients remotely, usually via video link, to undertake consultation and diagnosis which can involve high resolution photography, thermometer and otoscope (a tool for examining the condition of the ear canal and eardrum) readings.  Health care providers will then benefit from quicker diagnosis and more productive staff.

Remote monitoring and data collection

Digital technology can support remote monitoring and collect a whole range of data in a variety of contexts to benefit those within the adult social care system. For instance, wearable sensor devices send out alerts when a health emergency occurs whilst analytics of data collected via remote monitoring provide more insight into patients’ drug uses and their response.   Health care providers will then be able to target scarce resources among patients more effectively.

More secure, more accessible information

Collection of patient data, combined with patient and practitioner access to real-time and historical information, can support early intervention and proactive solutions, as opposed to reactive treatments.  Health care providers will also benefit from better patient record keeping by having higher quality information that can be recorded and accessed more quickly, and therefore allowing more time to be spent on patient care.

Technology is already reshaping the way adult social care services can be and are being delivered, with the expectation of even more rapid advances just over the horizon. But the benefits of enhanced digital connectivity and applications to assist with the delivery of social care will only be materialised if the highest quality mobile connectivity is available.  Supporting the investment in digital infrastructure and specifically mobile connectivity, will enable transformational changes to public services including adult social care. With these foundations in place, the potential of connected care can be realised.

Celebrating 10 years of 4G in the UK

30th October 2022 marks the ten-year anniversary of 4G coverage in the UK. In 2012, 4G brought the full internet and application experience to mobiles for the first time, transforming not only the way we communicate but also how we go about our daily life. From 1G to 5G, every mobile network generation delivers faster speed, better reliability and more functionality. Whilst many of us are still enjoying the high-quality connectivity provided by 4G, next-generation 5G offers significant improvements to speed and quality, and delivers more advanced functionality and application experience. As part of the UK’s mobile industry, MBNL is committed to bringing better connectivity to more places across the country as technology continues to evolve.

Check out some 4G firsts in @Mobile UK’s infographic here:

The crucial role of digital connectivity to the city of Wolverhampton

By Heather Clark, Head of Digital Projects at the City of Wolverhampton Council

In this special feature, our guest contributor Heather Clark talks about the importance of improving connectivity in Wolverhampton, and how her role as Digital Champion has assisted the rollout of digital infrastructure and improved connectivity in the city, bringing wider benefits to residents and businesses in the city and positive impacts on the economy.

Digital connectivity is important to the City of Wolverhampton. It is the backbone of a modern thriving economy, driving productivity and spreading growth, and in delivering effective and efficient public services. This has become increasingly important with COVID accelerating the adoption of digital, which is critical to growing our economy, and empowering recovery. Future-proofed digital connectivity is the building block to really maximise the benefits of digital for the city. Hence, driven by digital is one of our cross-cutting themes of our council plan because of its crucial role in delivering better outcomes for local people.

City of Wolverhampton Council initially identified a Digital Champion, Coordinator and a Councillor Digital Innovation Champion to support the rollout of full fibre and 5G in recognition of the benefits connectivity can bring to the city and to reduce barriers to the rollout. We adopted our Wolverhampton Digital Infrastructure strategy in January 2020, focusing on supporting the rollout of future-proof digital infrastructure across the city. At the time, the city faced key challenges with gaps in superfast coverage and 5G rollout, with less than 1% full fibre coverage. In relation to supporting the rollout of 5G, the Council lacked the knowledge of the Electronic Communications Code and understanding of the changes it brings. Therefore, we worked with industry experts at West Midlands 5G (WM5G), who supported us to introduce new processes and standardised agreements to facilitate this rollout. Furthermore, we learnt the importance of pre application discussions with planning on the siting of 5G masts and the benefits of licence agreements to use our street lighting for hosting telecoms equipment.

As Digital Champion, it is rewarding to see the impact of our strategy in Wolverhampton. We have made significant progress, with all 4 mobile network operators rolling out 5G in the city, assisted by our proactive approach which has accelerated the rollout by at least six months. New commercial rollout of full fibre broadband is also underway, with infrastructure being upgraded or planned for upgrades.
We have established a digital Wolverhampton partnership to drive the city’s approach to digital, provided strategic leadership and also appointed a dedicated Cabinet Member for Digital City.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Resources and Digital City, Councillor Obaida Ahmed, said:

‘A key aim of Wolverhampton’s Digital Strategy is creating a Gigabit and Smart City with future-proofed digital infrastructure, utilising full fibre broadband and 5G to transform the delivery of services and develop new applications to unlock potential. Most importantly, this vital infrastructure will boost businesses and provide jobs and opportunities for local people.’

As a digital driven city, our ambition is to ensure all our residents benefit by being 100% digitally included and grow our digital economy and talent pipeline.

Checking the facts about 5G to improve understanding and alleviate any concerns



5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology. It offers much faster data download and upload speeds than existing technologies, a more reliable data connection and the ability for many more devices to access the mobile internet at the same time. From 1G to 5G, every mobile network generation delivers faster speed and more functionality. 4G, which most of us are still using, enables us to video call and watch movies on the go. 5G offers these with significant improvements to speed and quality, but also so much more functionality beyond this.

With its superfast speeds and unprecedented reliability and capacity, 5G has the potential to deliver a host of benefits to enhance our everyday life and economic growth right now and into the future. Individuals and businesses including those in the public and private sectors are set to benefit from 5G’s powerful connectivity.

Extensive studies worldwide show that emissions from mobile base stations are far below the regulatory standards set by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection), an international body dedicated to radiation protection research and is formally recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and governments.

The safety of mobile technology has been extensively researched over the past few decades. 5G, like 2G, 3G, and 4G, is a safe technology and will be a game changer in transforming our lives socially and economically.

Mobile UK’s #5GCheckTheFacts campaign provides factually accurate information to help improve understanding of mobile and 5G and alleviate any concerns.   Find out more about this campaign here.

Alternatively, read our “5G Q&A” for answers to the most asked questions.

All you need to know about the new planning laws for telecoms development in England

by Will Osborne, Town and Country Planning Manager, and Samantha Gray, Community Relations Manager

You may recall in our last planning update we introduced some of the work undertaken by the Planning and Community Relations team at MBNL.

Since then, and following an extensive consultation, the Government has amended some of the planning legislation in England specifically relating to telecoms infrastructure development.  The new legislation is set out in part 16 of the General Permitted Development Order (As Amended) 2015.  Changes have been introduced to the Permitted Development Rights to further support the rollout of rural coverage and enhance the Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) ability to extend 4G coverage and deploy next generation 5G networks.  The Government has also updated the Code of Practice for Wireless Network Development to provide a framework for both the MNOs and the Local Planning Authority to undertake appropriate consultations, and other robust guidance for all parties to follow when utilising the new legislation.  You can view the published details of the new legislation here.

Below we have put together a summary of some of the key changes to specific site types:

Rooftop installations:

Under the new legislation, rooftop sites now require a 28-day notification to the Local Planning Authority.  Smaller masts up to 6 metres in height above the building can be installed in many areas without prior approval to help accelerate network upgrades and reduce the need to build new masts.  To improve mobile coverage for road users, masts can be located closer to the edge of a building at a lower height.  However, restrictions still apply to special locations such as Listed Buildings and World Heritage sites.

Greenfield sites:

For freestanding masts, the legislation has raised the height limits from 25m to 30m for much of England, and from 20m to 25m for areas identified as being more sensitive.  Such structures will now be regulated as Permitted Development, subject to prior approval by the Local Planning Authority.  The benefit of increasing the height of a new or existing mast is to provide a broader coverage area, reducing the need to build multiple new sites.

Streetworks and monopoles:

Where telecoms equipment is located on the public highway, new legislation allows the replacement of these masts up to 20m with a notification instead of a planning application.  Equipment cabinets can now be installed in protected land under a notification.

The new planning laws will mean fewer phone masts will be needed overall to level up the UK with improved connectivity.  The ability to install equipment with just a notification will reduce the complexity of the deployment process and ultimately will help to speed up the extension of 4G and 5G coverage across the country.  It will also provide greater certainty to both the MNOs and to site providers by mitigating the need for a lengthy planning process and the risk of planning refusals.

At MBNL we appreciate that our site provider community are key to improving connectivity and our agents will work closely with you to implement the new legislation and understand any implications.  Working with local communities, the Local Planning Authority and of course our site providers will enable improvements to the end user and future proof connectivity for the UK as a whole.

As always, we welcome your comments or queries, and will be on hand to support you, and the communities surrounding our sites.  You can get in touch by emailing

Industry Communications Framework: Promoting Best Practice Across the UK’s Telecoms Industry

industry communications framework

industry communications framework

MBNL is delighted to be part of an initiative led by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).  The initiative commenced with a number of workshops bringing together site providers and telecoms organisations to discuss the challenges faced by the industry in providing and maintaining connectivity across the UK.

The workshops have led to a consensus that a new Telecoms Communications Framework is required to promote best practice across the industry.  The Framework will work in conjunction with the OfCom Code of Practice and will provide guidelines on how Operators, site owners, and the wider telecoms community should communicate with each other.  Improved communication between all parties, whether in relation to the search for a new site location or maintaining existing sites, will ensure better connectivity can be rolled out across the country more quickly and efficiently, and in turn support the Government’s digital ambitions.

MBNL has also embarked on a wider site provider engagement initiative and at the heart of this is our Landlord Relationship Team.  As well as managing queries through our partners and suppliers, our dedicated team is here to provide tailored support for responding to queries, comments and complaints from our site provider community (via and the general public (via  We have also launched a live Site Provider Experience Survey on our website so comments and feedback can be shared with us any time.  MBNL will continue to facilitate better conversations with our site provider community and are committed to deliver on our positive engagement assurance and to drive continuous improvement in our ways of working.

Mobile Infrastructure Planning Briefing for Local Council Clerks

Mobile Infrastructure Planning Briefing

Mobile Infrastructure Planning Briefing

This article was first published by The Clerk Magazine, May 2022. It is reproduced with their permission.

In the May issue of The Clerk Magazine published by the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), MBNL’s Planning Manager Will Osborne explains the process behind providing the UK with improved mobile network connectivity, along with the related planning process.

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL) works closely with central government, devolved authorities, our site providers, and the wider community to enable better connectivity to more parts of the country. We support the acquisition, build, transmission, and deployment of all of EE and Three UK’s shared mobile network.

Planning Process For Mobile Infrastructure

As planning is a devolved function across the UK, MBNL must respond to different legislation, government bodies, and local authorities.

The demand for the services provided by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the country’s whole telecoms network, means installation of telecommunications equipment may be located in the centre of towns or cities, in conservation areas, on listed buildings, or in designated areas, such as national parks. All of this adds complexity to managing the planning of network deployment and associated communications and engagement needs.

The preparation of applications is key to delivering sites. Working with local planning authorities (LPAs) through early engagement and providing a thorough explanation of the need for the application then assists in making the final decision.

Forthcoming Planning Changes And Workshops

Changes to the current permitted development rights for telecoms in England have recently been proposed and will be presented to parliament*.

We at MBNL are happy to undertake workshops with LPAs and local councils so they are fully prepared for the changes and understand the implications on MNOs’ permitted development rights.

MBNL instructs agents to act on our behalf for planning application matters. Agents follow key guidance and process to start engagement with LPAs and to prepare the necessary applications.

More sensitive locations, such as conservation areas, listed buildings, and national parks may require extensive engagement – whether it be with local interest groups, communities, or organisations, such as Historic England.

The importance of detailed and appropriate engagement can pay dividends when applications are being considered. MBNL works hard to ensure all key stakeholders are involved throughout this process.

Permitted development rights allow the MNOs to install equipment without the need for a formal application, which can sometimes be confusing when new equipment is installed. In essence, the permitted development rights involve more minor forms of development, and the process is usually through a simple notification to the LPA.

MBNL’s agents will prepare all the submissions and manage the process, but what happens if we don’t obtain planning consent? Within the planning legislation there is a right to appeal and MBNL will support agents to prepare and submit appeals to the Planning Inspectorate.

The installation of telecoms equipment is the responsibility of the MNOs, but MBNL is able to liaise directly with planning officers, councillors, and key stakeholders if there is the perception there may have been a breach of planning control. MBNL can provide guidance and advice as to what has been proposed and what has been installed to assure key stakeholders.

MBNL also follows the best practice commitments established in the Code of Practice (CoP). The devolved authorities all have their own Code of Practice, but in particular for England, MBNL is currently in the process of reviewing CoP with the government, and it is anticipated the new CoP will be issued along with the revisions to English permitted development rights.

It is important to maintain a good relationship with LPAs to explain the complex legislative processes – and to address concerns from the general public.

MBNL is committed to collaborating with all involved in the planning process to help ensure the UK is best placed to benefit from world-class communications technology.

*New planning laws came into effect in England on 4th April.  See Mobile UK’s news for more details.

Report by Mobile UK: The Case for Local Authority Digital Champions

Mobile UK Digital Champions report

Mobile UK Digital Champions report

Today mobile communications are vital to how society communicates and conduct business.  The UK Government recognises this central role and has set a target for the majority of households to be connected to 5G by 2030.  Further to that, 95% of the UK’s landmass is set to be covered by a reliable 4G signal through the Shared Rural Network, a joint initiative between the UK’s MNOs and the Government.  In order to achieve this, it is equally important to identify and alleviate any barriers that impede or make mobile infrastructure deployment more difficult, costly or timely to roll out.  In its newest report ‘The Case for Local Authority Digital Champions’, Mobile UK outlines several areas that continue to make mobile equipment deployment difficult; these are the lack of coordination, expertise, and focussed resource to enable mobile connectivity at local authority level.   The report points out that Investment in a localised resource in the form of a Digital Champion offers significant benefits in enabling mobile deployment and thus realising the benefits of connectivity to local areas more quickly.  This report seeks to highlight how Digital Champions, funded by central government, put in place to coordinate local authorities’ digital strategies and relationships with the industry, can have hugely positive outcomes in the smooth deployment of mobile networks and in building more effective relationships both within councils and with telecommunications providers.

Read the full report here.