This report concerns the rollout of faster broadband and 5G across Warwickshire.
Portfolio Holder – Councillor Kam Kaur
Councillor Kam Kaur thanked officers for their continuing hard work. She added that the need to develop digital provision and 5G is essential. Funding for the project will be required and this was set out in paragraph 6.2 of the report.
Councillor Jerry Roodhouse observed that Warwickshire has long fought hard to secure good connectivity. However, this will only be as good as the supplier. He observed that in many instances customer care is found to be inadequate and added that pressure should be applied to government to agree customer care standards.
Councillor Keith Kondakor suggested that broadband provision should be spread equitably. At present providers tend to focus on more affluent areas. People are also concerned over heath risks associated with 5G. It will be important to ensure that radio signals are safe.
Councillor Jeff Clarke considered that there are many opportunities in Nuneaton and Bedworth to exploit digital and 5G developments. He was satisfied that the County Council will do what it can to ensure equitable provision across Warwickshire.
Councillor Kam Kaur thanked members for their contributions. She drew Cabinet’s attention to the partnership work now being developed with BT and Warwick University and the work being undertaken with the Transforming Nuneaton Board to maximise the benefits of 5G.
1) Agrees that there is a need to extend and improve gigabit digital connectivity across Warwickshire and approves and adopts the Digital Infrastructure Strategy (at Appendix C) to support the Council Plan 2020 – 2025, the Council’s Covid–19 Recovery Plan and the Warwickshire Place
2) Agrees to establish a Digital Connectivity Board supported by a Digital Infrastructure Team (as set out at paragraph 5.2 and subject to funding being available) to develop and promote a Digital Infrastructure Programme for and to coordinate and manage the deployment of full fibre connectivity and 5G mobile networks across Warwickshire.
3) Authorises the Strategic Director for Resources to develop the governance and project management arrangements for the Digital Infrastructure Programme in line with the objectives of the Digital Infrastructure Strategy and the Council Plan 2020 – 2025 and the requirements of the constitution.