Credit: Business Cloud
As 5G sweeps across the UK, dozens of super-tall phone masts are set to be built to reduce signal blind spots.
Nicky Morgan, the government’s Digital Secretary, has claimed that she wants to revolutionise current planning restrictions for mobile networks. At present, it is prohibited to build ground-based masts over 25 metres on public land.
“To give such a proposal the best chance of success we need to make it easier for industry to build, share and upgrade mobile infrastructure,” Morgan claimed. “This means planning rules will be relaxed to enable existing ground-based masts to be strengthened without prior approval to enable sites to be upgraded for 5G and for mast-sharing.”
The move comes as the government are launching a competition for rural areas to host tests of 5G applications.
5G has faced a lot of criticism in recent times but the technology is already in place in parts of the UK. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scotland to become a world leader in 5G, talking of the “huge potential gains for the public sector” in relation to the technology. The Labour Party, however, claims “bolder” plans are needed for UK digital infrastructure.
Meanwhile, a decision on Huawei’s 5G plans in the UK is set to be made in the autumn.
In April, former Prime Minister Theresa May and the National Security Council reportedly gave the go-ahead to Huawei to provide antennas and other 5G equipment on the condition that it was kept out of the most sensitive parts of the system, known as the core. The report was published shortly before Boris Johnson assumed office, leading to its delay.
“I would hope that we could do something by the autumn, but we want to make the right decision and we’ve got to make sure that this is going to be a decision for the long term, making sure we keep all our networks secure,” Morgan told the BBC.
“Huawei is not involved in the provision of government networks at the moment and that’s absolutely going to stay the same way, but we will look at all circumstances.”