Issue - meetings

Meeting: 13/11/2023 - Investment Board (Item 67)

67 Presentation :WM5G Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Presented By: Robert Franks




The board received a presentation from Robert Franks, WM5G, that provided an update on how the organisation is delivering 5G across the region and the transformational benefits it is providing for key sectors in health and social care, manufacturing, transport and for SMEs and start-ups.


The Chair noted that many people were reluctant to support 5G despite the many benefits it would bring and enquired how this issue was being addressed.


Robert Franks reported that the organisation does explain the benefits of 5G especially the health and social care benefits and was also keen to obtain public feedback with regards to poor mobile and broadband coverage.


Councillor Bird concurred with the Chair regarding the need to demonstrate the benefits of 5G to people especially with regards to health and social care and to companies that provide services that support the elderly including local authorities. He also considered the need for WM5G to communicate widely what it does using all communication channels not just social media.


Robert Franks agreed with Councillor Bird and reported that WM5G was working with the NHS, the WMCA and local authorities to support citizens.


Councillor Grinsell reported that she welcomed the benefits of 5G but had received feedback from residents that operators are consulting with them on the planning of 5G infrastructure but are not listening and are siting boxes and mast too close together and enquired whether operators could share masts.


Robert Franks reported that he was working with operators to ‘bake in’ early consultation with communities. In relation to the sharing of masts, he advised that there were some joint ventures, however, this was challenging due to the commercial competitiveness between operators and more masts were needed but agreed that sharing infrastructure should be the way forward.


In relation to an enquiry from Councillor Dormer as to whether WM5G worked with non-constituent authorities as he was trying to follow-up opportunities in Redditch that were highlighted three years ago, Robert Franks reported that funding was provided for the constituent area of the WMCA but WM5G was working closely with non-constituent authorities on projects and undertook to contact Councillor Dormer with regards to following-up the opportunities in Redditch.


In relation to an enquiry from Councillor Hughes regarding how WM5G is tacking youth unemployment and is ‘selling’ the technology to young people, Robert Franks advised that awareness is being raised among communities through the Ambassadors Programme, through social media, collaboration with the industry to provide work experience and mapping career paths. He added that work on skills is at its early stage but WM5G is collaborating with private skills providers and further education colleges.


The Chair thanked Robert Franks for his presentation and asked that the next presentation to Investment Board provide updates on communications, infrastructure and public resistance and skills.


Resolved that:

1.    The presentation be noted and

2.    The next presentation to this board include updates regarding  communications, infrastructure and public resistance and skills be agreed.