5G: strategy for Scotland

A strategy outlining our vision for 5G and our commitment to embracing the opportunities it will give to build towards our aspiration to establish Scotland as a forward looking digital nation. 

Current 5G Supporting Activities by the Scottish Government

The Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust have been leading the development and demonstration of 4G interventions while monitoring emerging 5G activity across Scotland. We have been proactively involved in initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to support the emerging 5G landscape across Scotland.

These initiatives have encompassed:

Infrastructure Sharing

  • Working with city councils, such as Dundee and Glasgow, to assess how their existing and future assets such as street furniture, buildings and rooftops could be utilised to collaboratively support the deployment of 5G in urban areas with a view to generating best practice and informing approaches elsewhere in Scotland.
  • Exploration with Transport Scotland the development, demonstration and testing of new innovative models based on collaborative working and infrastructure sharing along the roadside or trackside to create a digital transport corridor.

IoT Scotland

  • Co-funding an IoT Scotland[24] network with Scottish Enterprise, Highland & Islands Enterprise, and Boston Networks that will cover Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, and Stirling, with the aim of expanding it throughout Scotland. The main aim is to enable companies to innovate, providing low-cost access to next-generation connectivity, helping organisations develop new solutions and devices with global export potential.
  • Partnering with CENSIS[25] (Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems) to enable engagement in key IoT markets to develop new use cases and services for IoT technologies in Scotland. The aim is to increase efficiency/productivity in key markets and drive growth for the Scottish economy by demonstrating their benefits to both private and public sector in Scotland.

Enabling IoT for the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN)

SWAN[26] is a dedicated network and applications solution for the public sector. Established by the Scottish Government with public sector partners, SWAN serves over 50 bodies. Following successful trials CENSIS and Capita (the SWAN supplier), IoT infrastructure is now being deployed across NHS partners, local authorities and other public bodies.

Infrastructure intervention

  • Extending rural 4G coverage to selected 4G 'not spots' via the Scottish Government's £25 million Scotland 4G Infill programme by working with the mobile industry to deploy future-proofed mast infrastructure that is connected to fibre offering open access for all mobile network operators.
  • The Scottish Government's R100 programme which will drive delivery of superfast broadband services to 100% of premises in Scotland.

Scottish Government supporting policies

  • We have extended permitted development rights to provide a more effective mast upgrade process for existing and new mast infrastructure. Permitted development rights grant general planning permission in certain circumstances defined by legislation, and so remove the need to make applications for permission.
  • We are currently offering non-domestic rates relief for new mobile mast sites deployed via the Scottish 4G Infill Programme.
  • We have introduced 10-year non-domestic rates relief for fibre that is deployed both commercially and via existing and future interventions. This will support the aspiration of pushing the rollout of fibre in rural areas to ensure that as much of rural Scotland as possible has access to the fibre required to underpin future 5G infrastructure and services.



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