4 lakh ex­tra masts needed for 5g net­work in ru­ral Bri­tain

Rural & Marketing - - RURAL EUROPE -

Rolling out high speed mo­bile phone cov­er­age and in­ter­net to the for­got­ten corners of ru­ral Bri­tain will re­quire at least 400,000 ex­tra masts, many of which will need to be 80ft high, ex­perts have said.

In this month’s bud­get Phillip Ham­mond, the Chan­cel­lor, pledged to in­vest £1.1 bil­lion the development of a 5g net­work which will bring faster and more re­li­able mo­bile broad­band and phone cov­er­age to the UK by the early 2020s.

But a re­cent report by con­sumer watch­dog Which? found that mo­bile users in half of Eng­land can­not even ac­cess 4g, while in Wales the fast sig­nal is avail­able for just one third of the time.

Ex­pert from the In­sti­tu­tion of Engi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy (IET), King’s Col­lege Lon­don, and the uni­ver­si­ties of Sur­rey and Sus­sex, warned that peo­ple liv­ing the coun­try­side may have to ac­cept 80 foot (25 me­tre) masts if they want to catch up and en­joy the faster ser­vice. More than 10 times the num­ber of masts and base sta­tions, will be needed for full cov­er­age across the coun­try, but su­per-fast 1-2 gi­ga­bits per sec­ond speeds will al­ways be con­fined to cities, they warned.

Pro­fes­sor Will Stewart, of the IET said, “There is nowhere near enough ca­pac­ity to de­liver what we think the sys­tem needs, there never has been. The cru­cial thing is you need to be shorter range to de­liver the ex­tra ca­pac­ity, that means more base sta­tions, at least ten times more, maybe 100 times. There are between 30,000 and 40,000 masts now. One of the things you are go­ing to see in five years is the masts get­ting taller, to get more cov­er­age. 25 me­tres is what the mo­bile op­er­a­tors are ask­ing for. The UK has got the short­est masts in Europe."

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