Science Foundation Ireland

5G: An Emerging Framework for Irish cities and towns

CONNECT has partnered with Dublin City Council and Sligo County Council to launch a discussion document, “5G and Future Connectivity: An Emerging Framework for Irish Cities and Towns”, sketching options for the rollout of future connectivity in Ireland.

The document draws on findings from an online survey of telecoms vendors, mobile operators, and local authority broadband officers. It makes a number of recommendations calling for stronger alignment at local and national levels.

Read the report here (pdf). Read the executive summary here (pdf).

The document proposes a five-year roadmap to remove barriers to the rollout of next-generation communication networks at local and national level. It highlights the need for a coordinated approach to ensure Ireland does not miss the significant economic potential associated with 5G.

Dr Brendan Jennings, Interim Director of CONNECT, said:

“The economic opportunity associated with 5G and next-generation networks is well documented: the global impact in goods and services is expected to reach $12 trillion by 2035.

“A much more coordinated approach is needed if all regions in Ireland are to capitalise on this. The economic difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic make this all the more urgent.

“The document recommends the establishment of a National Working Group to shape a shared vision for connectivity in Ireland. It should be composed of key stakeholders: government departments, local authorities, mobile operators, equipment vendors, the research community and bodies like IBEC, ESB Networks, ComReg and the EPA.

Jamie Cudden, Smart City Lead at Dublin City Council, said:

“Local authorities, in particular, will play a vital role in Ireland’s path to 5G, so collaboration and engagement between councils and mobile operators will be essential to facilitate a sustainable rollout.

“For instance, the challenge of accessing power in an affordable manner is a make or break issue for future deployment of 5G. There needs to be continuous communication with ESBn via the Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce to resolve unmetered power issues for the installation of small cells on unmetered supply.

“There is also a need to build a database of assets such as street furniture, ducting, and streetlights, and assess their suitability for use in 5G deployments. Other issues such as the issuing of section 254 licences for delivery of new mobile sites or equipment installs such as small cells must also be addressed.

Nigel Carter, Digital Innovation Lead, Sligo County Council, said:

“We hope the document stimulates debate and discussion among stakeholders to ensure that Ireland realises its connectivity potential and remains a highly competitive economy.”

“In addition, it is critically important that safety monitoring continues and the latest scientific guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is communicated clearly.”

The discussion document was funded and supported by the Digital Innovation Programme of the then Department of Rural and Community Development. Preparation of the document was led by the Smart City team at Dublin City Council in collaboration with leading telecoms experts, Sligo County Council and CONNECT.

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.

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