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Misguided 5G Vandals Wreck Broadband Service in Rural Somerset

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021 (3:12 pm) - Score 3,792
voneus_broadband_kit_damaged_in_somerset_uk

Rural homes and businesses around the Norwood Park area of Somerset (England), specifically those connected to the local network run by UK ISP Voneus, lost their internet connection over the weekend after a group of “misguided 5G protestors” damaged broadband equipment while mistaking it for a mobile mast.

The provider, which generally specialises in bringing “superfast” and “ultrafast” broadband services to some of the hardest to reach rural communities in England, recently set itself a new near-term target to connect 100,000 rural homes to their new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network (here). But many of their existing communities are still served by their Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network.

Sadly, a number of people served by Voneus in the Wick area of Norwood Park were left with little to no internet over the weekend after vandals protesting about 5G mobile services damaged broadband equipment at Paddington Farm, apparently after mistaking it for a mobile network transmitter. Mind you, even if it had been a 5G mast the damage would still not have been justified (see out fact check on 5G health concerns).

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has also given rise to a number of twisted beliefs, which tend to ignore common sense and instead proclaim that the new generation of 5G based mobile signals have helped to create or even directly transmit the virus, which is impossible. Both ideas are as preposterous as they are lacking in any credible scientific foundation.

People who follow such beliefs have been known to threaten and attack telecoms engineers and mobile networks across the country, as well as unrelated fixed line broadband infrastructure. This appears to be what transpired in the Norwood Park area.

NOTE: 5G stands for 5th Generation Mobile technology, while 5GHz is a radio spectrum band used by various wireless systems but not by 5G mobile networks.

Adam Goodman, Project Manager at Voneus Broadband, said:

“This is a clear case of lack of knowledge and understanding.

The vandals disrupted their community thinking they were sticking it to 5G (5th generation mobile technology), where in fact they damaged a 5GHz (five gigahertz) broadband transmitter instead.

The act was not only criminal but also completely pointless and did nothing for their protest.”

The culprits had allegedly boasted about their actions by leaving a sign opposite the Riflemans Pub saying: ‘Check out the 5G at Paddington Farm.’ The equipment has since been repaired by Voneus and CCTV has been installed to monitor the area. The police are currently investigating the matter and anyone with any information should contact them as soon as possible.

Earlier this year another attack also hit three of Openreach’s fixed line broadband and phone cabinets in Chelmsford (Essex), which left almost 3,000 premises without access to either service (here). We should point out that a number of individuals have also been caught and put behind bars for committing such criminal acts, but the problem persists.

NOTE: Ofcom has warned media publications that they could face sanctions if found to be spreading conspiracy claims. As such we’ve taken the rare action of disabling comments on this news item in order to avoid such conspiracy theorists from abusing the system to spread disinformation about COVID-19.

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