Engineers call on future Government to make UK a global leader in next generation communications networks
As the Conservatives promise that Britain will seize the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5G, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has responded calling on the next Government to take steps to establish the UK as a global telecommunications leader and introduce legislation to make sure there is a reliable broadband service across all parts of the country.
Professor Will Stewart, IET, says: “High quality mobile access to data is becoming more and more critical to people in both their business and personal lives. Broadband is now our fourth utility, with many of us as dependent on it as we are on water, electricity and gas. The new Government must make providing universal broadband service for the UK a priority. Good broadband access, based on quality of service from a network infrastructure that can respond to users’ needs and not just on data transmission – or bit rate – is crucial to our future economy.
“The UK is already a global leader in e-commerce, and we believe there is a genuine opportunity for it to become a leader in developing and introducing the next generation of mobile and fixed networks too. So we are calling on the next Government to introduce legislation and incentives to make this happen.”
In its General Election Campaign, the IET also calls on the future Government to introduce new policies in IT, energy, education, manufacturing and transport to ensure engineering fulfils its potential to boost our economy and improve our everyday lives.
IT: A single Government department to tackle cyber security, e-commerce and privacy should be set up to create the legislation the UK need for a 21st Century Digital Economy.
Manufacturing: The UK has an excellent science and research base but often the output is exploited abroad rather than in the UK. We need the future Government to do more to support UK innovation and intellectual property, for example by growing the UK’s network of Catapult technology transfer centres* and by helping smaller manufacturing businesses access the support they need to grow their businesses and create new jobs.
Energy: The UK must make energy efficiency a higher political priority and introduce long-term energy policies to enable the UK to become a global leader in climate change mitigation.
Education: To address the engineering skills gap, we need specific Ofsted evaluation criteria to monitor STEM teaching in schools.
Transport: Long-term investment in a connected UK transport system will improve reliability, comfort and speed; reduce congestion and emissions; and avoid big transport investments becoming ‘white elephants’.
To read the full IET General Election Campaign, please visit www.theiet.org/election2015 or watch our short film.