The UK has been ranked in 54th place globally for 4G connectivity in a scathing report from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). It calls for the government to step up and to help tackle so-called "digital deserts" to make sure that the country can become a "world leader" in 5G deployment.
The report has found that Brits are only able to access 4G services 53 per cent of the time, which means the UK's services are lacking compared to those offered in Romania and Peru.
NIC chairman Andrew Adonis said: "Britain is 54th in the world for 4G coverage, and the typical user can only access 4G barely half the time.
"Our 4G network is worse than Romania and Albania, Panama and Peru. Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centres are plagued by 'not spots' where connectivity is impossible.
"That isn't just frustrating, it is increasingly holding British business back as more and more of our economy requires a connected workforce."
The NIC is calling on the government to create a new dedicated cabinet minister in charge of the UK's digital future, and to work with Ofcom to develop a Universal Service Obligation no later than 2025.
Motorways and railway networks are at the top of the NIC's list of priorities, and it says that both should have networks 'fit for the future' by 2025. As it stands, 17 per cent of A and B roads are complete not-spots, and 42 per cent have only partial coverage', while coverage on rail networks is "notoriously poor".
Adonis added: "5G offers us a chance to start again and get ahead. If government acts now, we can ensure our major transport networks and urban centres are 5G ready in time to give British industry every chance to lead the world in exploiting its applications.
"But none of this will matter unless we bring our mobile network up to speed. The existing system does not provide the level of coverage we will need in our connected future.
"We need a new universal service obligation which ensures that the mobile essentials - like text, talk and data - are available to us wherever we need them."
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