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Wales UK Moots Taller Mobile Masts to Improve Network Cover

Thursday, March 24th, 2016 (9:19 am) - Score 780
wireless rural broadband field mast

One of the historic problems with improving mobile network (2G, 3G and 4G etc.) coverage has been the fact that local laws often limit their height in order to placate NIMBYs. But this is slowly changing and the Welsh Government are looking to follow suit.

Plans are already afoot in England to relax the regulation and allow future masts that can reach up to 25 metres high (well above the previous 15 metre limit) and in Scotland we may even see some that reach 50 metres, which could be very beneficial for those who live in some of the most remote and hilly or down right mountainous areas.

In fact there may also be some 50 metre masts in England too if AirBand’s new Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband roll-out gets the all clear across the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks (here). But so far Wales has yet to cement a similar policy shift of its own.

However this could soon change after the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, began working with mobile operators in order to propose a relaxation of existing planning regulations.

Alun Cairns said (Wales Online):

Operators need to invest but also planning and regulation needs to support taller pylons to extend coverage as far as possible and get the number of people using mobile phones higher. … It’s important Wales is proactive. I want Wales to be in a position where operators find it at least as easy as England to invest.”

As usual the proposal has plenty of merit, but if a huge new mast goes up down your road then it’s easy to understand how such developments could cause annoyance within the community. On the other hand we’ve also seem some fairly small and inconspicuous masts cause problems in Swindon (here).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar dragoneast

    I don’t like this “all or nothing” approach we have. Nor this childish name-calling of people who disagree with us, sometimes may be for good reason.

    Recently I’ve seen masts appearing on electricity pylons. But so often territorial disputes predominate: “I’ve got to have my own thing/have it my own way, or nothing at all”. We need to grow up. Our whole regulatory regime discriminates against infrastructure sharing (note I say infrastructure, it encompasses more than just masts or even fibre); though as ever we say something different. Topography and the local environment matter: 25m isn’t a panacea any more than 15m was. But it makes a good headline, which seems all that matters to the ever-multiplying media with their exaggerated view of their own importance. Rural Wales isn’t the same as the urban fringes of Swindon. The question is always what is the best solution to the nature and needs of the local area. But that’s no good as a headline. The mast is the end product of a lot of things coming together, not some sort of manna falling from heaven.

    • Avatar dragoneast

      Quite frankly, I think if we could get beyond this “you can’t do that; you must do this” mentality we’d get a lot more done. We’re a small island, but being small doesn’t mean you have to be bossy, then it often seems so. Some sort of inferiority complex I suppose!

  2. Avatar DanielM

    we have one right outside thats 50m

  3. Avatar Samuel Stephenson

    I have mast I can see from my window that is 35m, so is this 15m restriction just for new installations?

    • Avatar Craig Brass

      15m is the limit operators can build under code powers without the need for planning permission. They can build taller ones, they just need to go through full planning.

  4. Avatar Andrew

    Ah it’s all a load of bollocks. Bloody Nimbys hold everything back. Should be a law against them. I mean there isn’t going to be a 25M mast every 2 miles or something.
    In Devon you hardly notice the ones there now (and there are a fair few). There would need to be a few more to get full coverage but nowhere near twice as many or even a third as many.
    Ignore the idiots and get them put up. This is the 21st century for God’s sake!!
    We need to move forward and leave the silly people behind.

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