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BRIEFING NOTE: The Smart Street Infrastructure Security Report

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has published a report that sets out to explore the physical security of street furniture such as lighting columns which are typically used by wireless operators such as mobile network operators (MNOs) and neutral host operators (NHOs) etc. to deploy IoT and small cell 5G networks.

The report was published in June 2022 and concludes that to date local authorities have employed very limited security measures despite attacks of vandalism – particularly against 5G equipment – and road traffic accidents leading to them being structurally compromised.

It is therefore becoming increasingly important to protect street furniture from damage as we they are used to deploy WiFi, IoT, 5G and CCTV networks as well as to support electrical vehicle (EV) charging.

Key recommendations for local authorities to consider include:

  • Increasing physical security measures e.g., minimise access to infrastructure to permitted personnel only

  • Enhance physical monitoring – this could be achieved by attaching low-cost movement sensors which are centrally monitored

  • Wireless operators should be requested to specify what physical security measures they require and to make a financial provision to fund any upgrade costs

  • Conducting a review of all arrangements relating to physical security for street-based assets and consolidate those arrangements wherever possible.

Many local authorities have a significant install base of street assets and any existing contractual arrangements with maintainers may need to be modified.

It is also recognised that there will be a significant cost upon local authorities retrofitting security measures, so any measure should be light touch to minimise costs.

The report also recommends that Ofcom becomes the central repository and oversight organisation for assessments and security assignment reports.

A design specification and code of practise is expected to follow. This follows a separate DCMS study to assess best practice relating to smart street infrastructure.

Intelligens Consulting’s expert and senior team of telecoms advisors are experienced in technology, strategy, economics, procurement and finance have supported ISPs with Project Gigabit and have pioneered local authority interventions to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of private investment in fibre, 5G and IoT networks.

Please contact should you wish to learn more about anything else discussed in this briefing note.

Intelligens Consulting is an award-winning telecoms and smart city advisor with a global client base. Our team of technology, strategy, economic, procurement and finance experts provide strategic, technical and procurement support, and research and economic analysis.

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