We celebrate that BT and others have joined us in our crusade. This is a massive achievement as they are traditionally concessionaires, BT currently hold 9 exclusivity agreements with UK councils which they are offering to end in order to start the ball rolling on open access. This is exciting to hear and means we could see the open access model become the norm, bringing an end to concession, as many local councils want to see happen.
iWireless Solutions is actively pursuing the open access model and is already in conversation with a number of UK councils. With over 10 years of experience in the UK market deploying hundreds of wireless networks in urban environments, iWireless Solutions is the prime candidate to launch this new approach. We have a strong track record, including the City of London, where we have recently designed and deployed one of London’s most technically advanced wireless infrastructures.
Through our experience of connecting towns and cities across the UK, iWireless Solutions has gained unique insights into some of the key questions and challenges faced by councils and the cities’ decision-makers. From this, it was clear that the traditional concession model is no longer working and new approaches were needed to develop a sustainable digital connectivity strategy across the council.
This was highlighted when we hosted a round table at The Telegraph’s Britain’s Smart Cities 2018 event, where councillors emphasised their interest in partnerships over concessions. This reaffirmed our belief that concessions don’t appear to provide much value in terms of proliferation of cellular or wireless services in the street scene. The key benefits of partnerships are the ability to offer a complete solution by bringing together different types of applications, services or solutions as a single message in one voice and bringing an end to exclusivity. The key problem with a concessional approach is that it assumes one party will be successful in delivering a smart city. This is no longer an issue with partnerships as assets are shared by all parties to ensure a high volume of installations and that revenue is returned. A more detailed outcome of the round table can be seen here.
In fact, iWireless Solutions have been pioneering the open access model before The Telegraph’s Britain’s Smart Cities 2018 event which reinforced our belief in this new approach:
Figure 1: Timeline of iWireless Solutions and open access
Back in 2018 we published an article explaining what open access means to us, you can see the full article here but our summary of this new approach is shown below:
An ‘open access’ telecom infrastructure owned by the council and funded by public and private investment could assure the quality of connectivity expected, by facilitating the deployment of new technologies and digital services, enhancing social inclusion, and attracting new businesses and startups to the area. This can be achieved by a partnership between multiple companies and the local authority.
By granting open access to the digital infrastructure, a larger community’s smart initiatives, and smart city infrastructure can be implemented. An open ecosystem allows innovation to flourish, assuring sustainability, flexibility and future proofing, which ultimately translates into access to innovation and early adoption of new technologies to improve the quality of life in the citizens.
Figure 2: The open access model
As a telecom asset manager, iWireless Solutions are in the position to fund part of infrastructure and, with the help of our partners, could guide and support the council to bid for public funds from DCMS and Innovate UK, amongst others. Deploying fibre and high-capacity fibre wireless networks including IoT, Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G. Our services are tailored to support councils from conception through to deployment and maintenance.
If you would like to discuss your smart city strategies, or discover more about what iWireless Solutions has to offer, please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)1342 305038 or firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team would be delighted to speak to you.