Broadband News

To allow wireless masts or not?

Plans to use an 8 metre tall mast in the grounds of a Scottish school to provide better broadband access for the school almost failed due to the objections of a SNP councillor on health grounds.

The mast appears to be a point to point wireless link, and we suspect that at some point in the discussion the word 'microwave' was mentioned and visions of slowly cooking pupils due to the impression that any microwave signal can cook just like a microwave oven.

A report on the mast at Longside Primary School is available on the Aberdeenshire council website. This reveals that the mast is part of an on going programme to improve broadband connectivity to schools in the county since 2011 and some 190 schools are already benefiting from the project.

The report does suggest that the mast will 'allow the Council to meet targets for provision of superfast broadband in rural areas but since the antenna appears to be a point to point design, unless the mast gets used as backhaul link for the homes in the area we don't see it fitting into the Scottish broadband improvement plans for homes and businesses.


It is something of a travesty against physics if objectors are allowed to suggest that something under 1 watt power output, 20+ metres in the air, and not "aimed" at the ground is in any way going to cook anything.

The only thing I can think of that is potentially dangerous at 1 watt is a laser, and that is because all the power gets concentrated into a pinpoint.

If you get to study physics at Uni you'll hopefully still be allowed to measure quantum tunneling using microwaves.

  • prlzx
  • over 7 years ago

@prizex Don't need to cook to damage - Learn!

  • professor973
  • over 7 years ago

Clearly nobody has considered the outrageous dangers of hair dryers!!!!
All that RF and it definitely heats your head up!!!

And the link about resonance is total twaddle. They mix up wavelength and frequency, the experiments they run are prime examples of how not to... no blinds and no corroborative data.
Then he goes into the memory of water...
Sensational yes, in that it's bad science and pseudoscience thrown in to boot...

  • themanstan
  • over 7 years ago

Tinfoil hat argument. UK Broadband won't do their 4G licensed spectrum near schools to avoid the nutters.

An 8m mast doesn't need planning permission in England, and schools and colleges are festooned with mobile base stations and microwave backhaul dishes.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

LOL @herdwick: 'Tinfoil hat argument' is probably not the correct term to use in this context since a tin foil hat actually would prevent the very real microwaves from entering your head. Not that there would be any point going to those lengths though at these power levels.

  • Daemon66
  • over 7 years ago

Unless they climb up the mast it will be no risk. If there is any risk at all it is from the mobile handset where you hold it within millimetre of your brain. Parents though are quite happy to give their children mobiles

Testing to date though has not established any risk from mobiles unless you have one glued to your ear almost 24/7

  • Bob_s2
  • over 7 years ago

Looking at the BB Map, Longside gets 0.29Meg down 0.37 up on Market 1. ADSLmax available and the school is 250 meters from the exchange.

There's a good case for some simple testing, rather than governments 'investing'. Perhaps it highlights that politicians, such as Lottie Dexter don't have the first clue about the problem, so almost always pick the wrong solution.

  • camieabz
  • over 7 years ago

Local planning departments forget far too often that they only regulate the aesthetics of masts and antennae. The RF side is authorised under the Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1949, whose regulator is ... Ofcom (formerly the Radiocommunications Agency). This latter body are the only ones who are permitted by law to take a view on "health grounds".

  • deserter
  • over 7 years ago

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