Decision details

ONE WORD 5G Mobile Network Pilot Project (WL)

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Economic and Cultural Sustainable Development

Decision status: Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) put out an Open Networks Ecosystem (ONE) funding call in March 2023. The ONE fund was developed in order to tackle key barriers to the adoption of open mobile networks: with trials in areas of high demand, and to allow for development of new Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) software and hardware solutions to improve performance of these networks.

The ONE WORD 5G Mobile Network Pilot aims to improve connectivity and boost the local economy as a result of providing a new cutting-edge mobile network directly in the historic centre of Bath.


(1)  To support the ONE WORD 5G Mobile Network Project and to approve Bath & North East Somerset’s role as a partner to deliver the project.


(2)  To delegate approval to the Executive Director - Resources (S151 Officer) to enter into a grant funding agreement for £773k of government grant funding for the project.


(3)  To approve the installation of 5G apparatus on Council assets including Street Furniture such as CCTV and lighting columns.


(4)  To fully approve capital budget of £773k funded by government grant to deliver the ONE WORD 5G Mobile Network Project.

Reasons for the decision:

There is currently a market failure in the mobile telecoms sector, with lack of investment from private telecoms companies which is exacerbated by UK Government restricting some international vendors. Additional challenges in the City of Bath are posed by its World Heritage Status and Georgian architecture, meaning the mobile connectivity, coverage and capacity is not at the required levels for a modern inclusive economic centre.


B&NES also suffers from digital exclusion, with residents reporting coverage, cost, skills and confidence being barriers to accessing services and employment online. Digital exclusion is now one of the key work strands being picked up by the Future Ambitions Board.


The Open Network Ecosystem (ONE) funding calls target investment in new next generation open mobile networks that multiple vendors can share in order to unlock innovation, boost connectivity and reduce digital and economic inequalities.


This project and accompanying financial investment will fund staffing infrastructure to greatly improve Bath’s mobile connectivity; if successful then future funding calls will be targeted to expand the network and serve areas outside of the city centre.


Alternative options considered:


Publication date: 05/02/2024

Date of decision: 05/02/2024

Effective from: 13/02/2024

Accompanying Documents: