Daily Mail

400,000 new masts for 5G phones could blight countrysid­e

- By Colin Fernandez Science Correspond­ent

THE roll-out of high speed 5G mobile internet could lead to 400,000 new masts – spoiling views in parts of the countrysid­e, experts have warned.

And the service, which promises quicker access to the web on your phone, will need masts up to 80ft high, 30ft taller than current ones, it was claimed.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged to invest £1.1 billion on developing 5G coverage, which he said would put an end to slow internet and mobile signal by the early 2020s.

But Professor Will Stewart, of the Institutio­n of Engineerin­g and Technology, said yesterday: ‘There is nowhere near enough capacity to deliver what we think the system needs.’

There are currently between 30,000 and 40,000 masts, but he estimated this would need to increase by at least ten times, adding: ‘Coverage is enormously important. It’s not just ex-prime ministers who are concerned they can’t get coverage.’

In 2014 David Cameron complained about mobile signal during his holiday in Cornwall.

Tom Fyans, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: ‘Slow speeds continue to frustrate communitie­s in remote areas. Yet we need to ask if we can deliver coverage without markedly harming the character of our precious landscapes.’

He suggested putting signal bases on top of churches or farm buildings, rather than building intrusive masts.

Mischa Dohler, Professor of Wireless Communicat­ion at King’s College London, said: ‘The rural coverage problem is a big headache. If coverage wasn’t there in 4G it won’t be in 5G.’

Phone group EE is developing airborne antennae attached to balloons to try to deliver 4G to areas with weak or no signal.

‘Frustrate communitie­s’

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