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£150m government investment in mobile masts to improve coverage
Monday 03 October 2011 17:37:44 by John Hunt

£150m will be spent by the UK government on improving mobile coverage in the UK, the Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced today at the conservative party conference. It's estimated that this will improve coverage for 5 to 10% of consumers and businesses in rural areas which often suffer for very poor or non-existent mobile coverage.

The government aim to reach 99% of the population and will release funding so that the roll out of new masts can begin from 2012. Ofcom will be in charge of procuring the sites for these new masts. It's imagined that the mobile networks would have to have equal access to these sites to ensure that the deployment does not unfairly favour one operator over another, and to ensure that coverage of all operators is achieved.

Ofcom could follow in the footsteps of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the body tasked with assigning funds for broadband roll-out through local authorities, to create an open-access wholesale mobile network that can be used by all operators, but this is likely to delay the roll-out and it could be difficult to achieve agreement from all the operators to ensure interoperability.

"We have maintained for some time that market forces alone will not solve these problems. In particular, poor and unreliable coverage, which exists mostly in rural areas, is likely to persist to some degree as there is limited scope for commercially-driven improvements."

Ofcom Statement

There could be some real joint incentives by working with BDUK on this deployment however. By ensuring that all new sites that are enabled will support 4G services, some broadband not-spots could be filled in and get access to faster services through the mobile network. It's also a government ambition to get a fibre 'village pump' installed in all communities, and this may correlate with fibre-backhaul that is required by the mobile networks to support the new masts.

Whilst 99% coverage seems like a great target, lets not forget that the crucial 1% being missed does leave out over 600,000 people who will still receive little to no coverage, and there will be little incentive for the mobile providers to improve networks to reach these final people.


Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
OFCOM will be in charge of procuring masts ? Eek.

3,000 masts should see a massive amount of tinhat lunacy raised in objection under a localism banner.
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 6 years ago
They can stick them on all the ficking wind turbines they have planned.
Posted by prlzx over 6 years ago
If I knew what proportion of rural churches had square towers (rather than spires), they might make suitable sites, generally being higher than the surrounding area yet near to village/town populations.

They could also pay a moderate site lease/rental, and can be painted if necessary to not detract from the architectural / aesthetic character.

Careful choice of height would allow the antennas to see over the parapets without being a blot from nearby.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

What about the nimbys?
Posted by mervl over 6 years ago
Precisely, Norfolk has such a proposal for wi-fi services I believe, and the Diocese has sent it to a public inquiry because of an objection from someone in the Midlands who says the wireless signals make them sick!!When I worked for an LPA it was a common allegation.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
So we are going to have a government body owning and operating transmission masts and offering them to all operators on an equal basis?

This seems to be one rule for mobile and another for fixed.

I wonder if they will limit access to the masts to only the mobile guys or whether others can get reasonable access to (eg for rural broadband rollouts)?
Posted by mervl over 6 years ago
As far as I can see the scant details say the finance is to "assist" with site procurement. It seems a feat of some imagination to expect a publicly owned transmission network!
Posted by lockyatlrg over 6 years ago
What will that buy us 2 masts?

After the company's rip the government off cus they know they can.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Superstitious bull****.

Regarding actual health concerns, like with
power pylons, electricity attracts pollutants, on its own, it's harmless. Guess we just need to stop polluting...
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Bit like the mobile phone signals heating up the brain a teensy weensy bit... ban hair dryers for god's sake! I bet they really heat up the brain!!!
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
There is only one place to look for opinionated twaddle.
There is a world of difference between warmth radiating from a hair dryer and RF energy penetrating the brain. I would have thought all forum know-alls would realise that the brain and nervous system works via much smaller electrical signals. Damage from mobile phone use has already been proved.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago

I'm guessing the World Health Organisation is high on your list of Twaddle makers...

if you look very carefully you'll see hair dryers right at the top of the list of household items... and many people do hold a hair dryer far too close to there heads... and for long periods of time. Possibly the explanation for dizzy hair dressers...

Plenty of money for studies into RF and EMF from mobiles... but from hair dryers, well it's not sexy science so doesn't get funded.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
Pubmed gives 1812 hits for the key words telephone and radiation...
Substitute hair dryer for telephone and you get 2...

Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
I don't know what the WHO know about Pulsed ELF fields, the certainly won't find them emitted from their list of household objects.
Us Ham Radio operators have had a formula for risk for years.
MPE limits are covered here.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Use loud speaker.
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
What instead of Wi-Fi and mobile masts? ... Do you have connection details?
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
M0aur, are you actually reading what i'm saying?
I'm not denying the link between mobile phone use and risk, i never have... i did point out there are 1800 scientific articles relating to mobile phones and radiation... and in my initial comment i state they warm up your brain a bit...
What i'm relating is that hair dryers can warm up your brain... and even make it in to the WHO list of strong EM emitting household items... yet haven't been demonised...
so please tell me which part of my statements are uninformed...
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

I meant the loudspeaker on the phone.
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
Dear oh dear oh dear. Surely it is obvious, that I was pointing out that a phone on handsfree, does not reduce RF from masts or Wi-Fi networks. We cannot get away from microwave RF even if we wanted to. If you were a phone you would squawk, if you were a fools lantern you would show 'I'm a nobody, get me in there' and so on.
Posted by themanstan over 6 years ago
No comment?
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