The Government looks to expand digital UK map of underground cables
The Government's National Underground Asset Register (NUAR), representing a new digital UK map of underground pipes and cables looks to expand, potentially to the public, following a progress update.
NUAR is a digital map of underground pipes and cables built by The Geospatial Commission, part of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. The Government sees huge potential for national infrastructure to be better managed, built and planned through digital location maps. This includes future full fibre broadband and 5G mobile networks. The digital map also aims to cut accidental damage that occurs to existing infrastructure and, once operational, is envisaged to deliver £490 million per year of economic growth through increased efficiency in construction and development, reduced asset strikes and reduced disruptions for the public and businesses.
The Geospatial Commision's progress update, including sharing information on a discovery project, also focuses on the potential for increased economic growth that could be realised through widening access to the vital national asset, including opportunities for the wider market. For example, supporting the rollout of electric vehicle charge points, flood risk planning or emergency response.
Also announced last Thursday 23 November, the digital map has expanded to cover the South East, South West, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber and East of England. At present, NUAR includes data from major energy and water providers and several telecommunications companies, including CityFibre and Virgin Media O2.
In Parliament last week, measures were also tabled to update existing legislation, taking advantage of opportunities provided by data and technology advancements, to simplify and expedite the process by which asset data is shared. Updates aim to ensure that data is accessible, up to date, comprehensive and standardised. It is advocated this will reduce the time taken for workers to get all the location data they need to carry out safe digging from six days to 60 seconds.
Currently, the NUAR service will continue to be iteratively enhanced in line with user feedback, the MVP coverage will be expanded to Northern Ireland by Spring 2024, and the platform aims to be fully operational by the end of 2025. Measures are being sought in Parliament to update existing legislation, taking advantage of opportunities provided by data and technology advancements, to simplify and expedite the process by which asset data is shared.
At techUK, we convene the NUAR Telecoms working group to bring industry leaders together to express views/concerns and challenges around NUAR. Reach out to Mia Haffety or Sophie James for further information.
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