Cornerstone’s Six Point Plan to Improve UK Mobile Infrastructure

Mobile infrastructure services provider Cornerstone (CTIL), which handles the UK network sharing agreement between O2 (VMO2) and Vodafone (Vantage Towers), has outlined a new plan to Government MP Sir John Whittingdale that it hopes will help digital infrastructure deployments – particularly for 4G and 5G (mobile broadband).

The announcement seems to be built off the back of a meeting between Cornerstone’s senior leaders, Belinda Fawcett (Director of Property and Estates) and Jamie Hayes (Chief Sales and Commercial Officer), and MP Sir John Whittingdale (Minister of State for Department of Science, Innovation, and Technology in 2023) at a tower site in the right honourable member’s constituency of Maldon.

NOTE: Cornerstone manages a UK estate of 15,500 sites (masts, rooftops, small cells etc.).

The visit aimed to bring closer collaboration and dialogue on critical issues surrounding infrastructure deployment and governmental support. John Whittingdale’s insights into the challenges faced by the local authorities, particularly in terms of planning resources, are said to have highlighted the need for central government support.

Mobile operators have of course been pleading with the government to give them more support in recent months (example), so none of this should come as any particular surprise, and a lot of the talking points we’ve seen before appear to be touched on again in the new “Six Point Plan” below. But this time the announcement we’ve seen is less of a “plan” and more a list of six very vague bullet points.

The Six Point “Plan”

– Enhance Support for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)
– Closer Engagement in Digital Connectivity Section of “Section 106” Agreements
– Empower Digital Champions
– Streamline Planning Regime
– Legislative Changes for Multi-Skilled Visit (MSV)
– Implementation of PSTI Act Provisions

Belinda Fawcett, General Counsel and Property Director at Cornerstone, said:

“This visit is about highlighting the significance of collaboration between industry and government in leading the way in bringing digital infrastructure capability to all areas of the UK in an economically viable and sustainable way.

The necessity of appointing and funding of digital champions in local government and further support for submitted planning applications is urgently needed to accelerate the deployment of crucial digital infrastructure, to benefit the local communities.”

Whether the government will actually get behind ALL of this with something tangible remains unclear, although the looming prospect of a General Election may get in the way of these efforts.

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