Mobile UK has released a report calling on the UK Government to fund Digital Champions for local authorities, to help coordinate and prioritise digital connectivity and the rollout of mobile infrastructure, and assist with the Government’s ambitions to address digital exclusion as part of its Levelling Up agenda.
The report, entitled Building Mobile Britain: The Case for Local Authority Digital Champions, showcases local authorities - including Essex County Council - who have already embedded a focused digital strategy and are streets ahead of those which have yet to create a plan.
Mobile UK - which represents the UK’s four mobile network operators, EE, Three, Virgin Media O2, and Vodafone - has outlined five minimum key attributes needed for a successful Digital Champion role. It says they should be fully funded, held at a senior level, have political responsibility (be supported by cabinet-level elected representatives), have demonstrable skills and experience, and be focused on tangible outcomes, not outputs.
Director of Policy and Communications at Mobile UK, Gareth Elliott, says: "The Government has placed enormous emphasis in its Levelling Up agenda on improving digital connectivity, particularly to reduce digital poverty and exclusion, but to achieve these goals it is important to understand the need to assist local authorities in helping to prioritise and coordinate mobile infrastructure deployment.
"Our report highlights the role and dramatic impact a Government-funded Digital Champion, can have on a council’s ability to play a positive role in the rollout of digital connectivity and to support the UK realise its goal of 5G rollout."
The report cites research highlighting that where councils have a dedicated and funded Digital Champion, they are four times more likely to deliver a smooth rollout of vital mobile telecommunications infrastructure. The report also explains that without adequate focus and funding, the UK will continue to face barriers in meeting its 2030 target for the majority of households to be connected to 5G.
Visit the Mobile UK Digital Champions page to read the full report and find out more details.