The government has announced a major telecoms sector expert will chair its newly commissioned Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council.
Simon Bladgen (pictured), the former non-executive chair of Fujitsu UK, will head up the taskforce created to “provide advice on how to effectively deliver a more competitive and diverse 5G telecoms market”.
Having taken over the work of the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce, the taskforce has delivered a report to the government giving recommendations on diversification of broadband supply following the removal of Huawei equipment from UK 5G networks.
One of the taskforce’s recommendations was to establish a permanent external body to advise on the delivery of the diversification strategy and wider related issues, including potential supply chain issues in other telecoms equipment such as fixed broadband.
Among the taskforce’s initial recommendations was investment in R&D to remove barriers to entry for Open RAN technology. Earlier this week, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the launch of the £30m Future RAN Competition (FRANC) fund to “reduce over-reliance on a small number of telecoms vendors”.
The new Advisory Council chaired by Blagden has been set up to work towards those recommendations backed by £250m government funding.
Blagden said: “I am greatly enthused to be joining as chair of the new Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Council.
“I am looking forward to working with the Minister, Advisory Council members and the team at DCMS to contribute towards this important agenda.”
Blagden was appointed MBE in 1997 for services to export and was appointed CBE in 2016 for services to the economy and will bring more than two decades of telecoms experience to the new role.