Digital & Data

The widespread availability of high quality digital infrastructure is essential to support economic growth and harness the potential of data to improve services, reduce disruptions and limit emissions.

Updated:

Close up picture of glowing glass fibres

Summary

Digital connectivity has become a necessity, linking homes and businesses across the UK with faster and reliable mobile and broadband connections.

Its increasing importance to the functioning of the economy has been shown during the Covid-19 pandemic, with widescale home working highlighting the value of reliable connections.

The Commission therefore advises government on how it can best work alongside industry and Ofcom to support the widespread rollout of new networks – including 5G and gigabit-capable fibre broadband – in order to maximise the value of digital technologies to the economic growth, resilience and people’s lives.

Positive progress has been made: for example, the UK now has superfast broadband availability to 97 per cent of premises; and the Commission’s recent social research found that digital is the sector with the highest public confidence that it will meet their needs over the next thirty years.

Digital solutions can also help infrastructure operators and regulators manage our critical national systems more effectively, while sharing data, with the appropriate security and privacy arrangements, can catalyse innovation and improve the outcomes for users. For instance, artificial intelligence techniques can deliver realtime insights into infrastructure assets and systems, enabling greater efficiency: analysis suggests that artificial intelligence could add over 10 per cent to the UK economy by 2030.

In addition to work on standardising approaches to data collection and sharing, the Commission works with partner bodies to encourage the development of systems which monitor infrastructure in real time and have predictive capability to help manage, predict and understand the UK’s increasingly integrated infrastructure systems.

The Second National Infrastructure Assessment – published in October 2023 – includes recommendations on delivering gigabit capable connectivity, accelerating the market-led deployment of  5G and action to identify the telecommunications needs of different infrastructure sectors.

Data sets for digital & data

A range of data sets relating to the digital and data theme is available to review on our Data pages. This includes data sets used in Commission reports, as well as historic data sets. Each can be reviewed online or downloaded. 

Review data

Latest Updates

Digital future for UK roads network focus of new Commission study
Graphic showing autonomous cars

Digital future for UK roads network focus of new Commission study

Harnessing the potential of digitally connected autonomous cars and commercial vehicles to increase road safety, tackle congestion and improve the accessibility of transport services will be the focus of a new National Infrastructure Commission study on connected and autonomous mobility (CAM). The government has today (12 February) published the terms of reference for the study,...

12 Feb 2024 By
Connected and Autonomous Mobility
Graphic showing autonomous cars

Connected and Autonomous Mobility

A new study exploring the implications of this emerging technology for the future management of the UK's roads and digital infrastructure.

12 Feb 2024
Cost effective delivery of infrastructure projects
New motorway junction being built

Cost effective delivery of infrastructure projects

Project exploring how the UK can build economic infrastructure more quickly and cheaply, and compare favourably with its international peers.

24 Jan 2024
Unwrapping the Past: How telegraphs paved the way for today’s festive texts
image of a telegraph machine and a mobile phone

Unwrapping the Past: How telegraphs paved the way for today’s festive texts

These days, most people in the UK probably don’t give a second thought to the idea of emailing festive greetings: texting a quick ‘thank you’ on Christmas morning, or doing a video call with those who couldn’t be there to celebrate in person. Today’s smartphones conveniently allow us to communicate with others anywhere in the...

20 Dec 2023 By
Historic Telecoms Datasets
image of a telegraph machine and a mobile phone

Historic Telecoms Datasets

Selected data on the UK's telecoms industry spanning as far back as 1851

19 Dec 2023
Impact and costings for recommendations in the Second National Infrastructure Assessment
Leeds urban transport

Impact and costings for recommendations in the Second National Infrastructure Assessment

25 Oct 2023
Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action
Scout Moor windarm and the Naden Reservoirs near Rochdale

Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action

Improved infrastructure to boost economic growth across the UK and meet climate goals is both achievable and affordable if the right policy steps are taken now, according to the government’s independent advisers on infrastructure strategy. The Second National Infrastructure Assessment – a five yearly review conducted by the National Infrastructure Commission – sets out a...

18 Oct 2023 By
Analysys Mason – 5G wireless deployment scenarios
Digital city image

Analysys Mason – 5G wireless deployment scenarios

18 Oct 2023
Second National Infrastructure Assessment
Scout Moor windarm and the Naden Reservoirs near Rochdale

Second National Infrastructure Assessment

The Commission's thirty year plan for a low carbon and resilient UK economy that supports economic growth and protects the natural environment

18 Oct 2023
National Infrastructure Assessment
View of Manchester city centre

National Infrastructure Assessment

An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.

18 Oct 2023
Stronger coordination of environment and community benefit needed to get planning timescales back on track
T-pylons under construction

Stronger coordination of environment and community benefit needed to get planning timescales back on track

A new data platform to share environmental information and effective ways of addressing the impact of proposed infrastructure projects will enable stronger protection for natural habitats and speed up schemes crucial to the net zero transition, according to a new report by the National Infrastructure Commission. The review by the government’s official infrastructure advisers also...

18 Apr 2023 By
Infrastructure planning system
A solar farm in a field

Infrastructure planning system

A short study reviewing the current processes for reviewing national policy statements for key infrastructure sectors

18 Apr 2023
Go big where it counts to hit economic and climate goals, says Commission
Front cover image from IPR

Go big where it counts to hit economic and climate goals, says Commission

Government must develop stronger staying power and focus on fewer, bigger, better targeted initiatives to deliver the infrastructure needed to meet its long term goals for economic growth and a lower carbon economy, the UK’s independent advisers on infrastructure have said. The last year has seen progress towards major infrastructure objectives “stutter further just as...

27 Mar 2023 By
Infrastructure Progress Review 2023
IPR 2023 front cover montage

Infrastructure Progress Review 2023

Our annual monitoring report on government progress towards major infrastructure objectives.

27 Mar 2023

Evidence_Icon_Turquoise Created with Sketch.

Explore data used in the Commission's research, and gain insights from across UK infrastructure

Join our team of professionals supporting the Commission to provide evidence based and forward thinking advice on infrastructure strategy.