Arqiva has today announced it has secured the exclusive access rights to street furniture across The Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames for the future deployment of telecommunications infrastructure.
The 10-year contract grants Arqiva access to around 15,000 lampposts across the borough, which it will be able to use for the deployment of small cell technology to help the UK mobile network operators (MNOs) to further expand mobile coverage and capacity over the coming years.
In the future, small cells will also be crucial to the delivery of 5G.
Small cells are units that can be installed onto street furniture and the sides of buildings to boost mobile capacity in areas where demand is particularly high or existing coverage is poor. They can also be applied inside venues such as shopping centres, where increased footfall puts a strain on existing communications infrastructure.
They allow people to continue using the connected functions of their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices without any interruptions.
The deal represents Arqiva’s 13th concession of this kind in London, following similar contract wins in Barnet, Brent, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth. Arqiva also has similar deals in Manchester, Southampton, Colchester, Eastbourne and Medway.
As the project commences, Arqiva will also deploy Wifi access points – mounted on lampposts – in high footfall areas across the borough to provide free public access to Wi-Fi services.
Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Telecoms & M2M at Arqiva, said: “Sufficient outdoor connectivity is fast becoming a prerequisite of London-living, hence our dedication to delivering the infrastructure needed to serve all Londoners with fast, seamless and consistent mobile coverage on the move.
“Street furniture such as lampposts has a crucial role to play in providing 4G signal to densely populated areas now, and preparing for mobile 5G in a few years. Furthermore, street furniture is integral to the future delivery of 5G Fixed Wireless Access broadband to homes.
“We are excited to be working with yet another London Borough, and are pleased that more and more local authorities – like Kingston – are recognising the importance that both their residents and businesses place on connectivity, and exploring the ways that they can boost it.
“As we head towards the 5G era, ubiquitous connectivity is becoming increasingly important, and it’s vital that councils act now.”
Head of Planning and Regeneration at Kingston Council, Viv Evans, said: “For a borough which attracts 20 million visitors each year for its rich retail, leisure and cultural offer as well as being a focus for major regeneration, with more and more businesses choosing to invest and locate here, it is crucial that our outdoor connectivity is as good as it can be. We look forward to working with Arqiva in giving residents, businesses and visitors the connectivity needed for them to stay in contact, work on the go and browse the internet at leisure wherever and whenever they need.”