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The government has launched a consultation process as part of plans to speed up the rollout of mobile broadband in the UK.

With demand for 3G and 4G broadband services continuing to rise, the Con-Lib coalition is considering regulatory changes, which would remove some of the obstacles to new infrastructure projects.

The government believes demand for mobile capacity will increase 80 fold by 2030, and this means the use and sharing of existing infrastructure must be maximised.

Key proposals include clarifying existing permitted development rights to remove ambiguity, ensuring the appropriate safeguards remain firmly in place for protected areas, amending the rules on building masts to enable mobile operators to install antenna further back from the edgesof a building, and making it easier to allow the wall-mounting of antenna.

The government is also looking to facilitate the use of small wall-mounted 'microcell' antenna, which offers a fast way to add network capacity with minimal visual impact, and to encourage the sharing of masts.

Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said broadband is "essential" for driving economic growth and the government is transforming broadband in the UK by tripling speeds and getting ten million more homes and business online.

"We know that broadband is a key plank of business infrastructure and essential to creating jobs," he stated.

"Demand for mobile broadband in particular is increasing at a phenomenal rate. We need to ensure that businesses and individuals can access this as soon as possible, if its full potential as a driver for growth is to be realised."

Planning Minister Nick Boles commented that the proposed technical changes allow the new technology, needed for improving mobile coverage and speeds for local residents, to be installed in a way that ensures better use is made of existing infrastructure.

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