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Government pledges to reform mast heights

Paul Withers
December 29, 2015

Vodafone says taller sites would provide wider reaching coverage, reducing costs for operators 

The UK government has pledged to reform planning restrictions that limit the height of mobile masts which are up to 10 metres shorter than those in Europe.

According to Vodafone, taller sites give wider reaching coverage, meaning less costs for the operator and greater reach.

The average UK mast is around 15 metres tall, significantly shorter than the 25 metre sites found on the continent, because planning laws mean taller sites are less likely to be approved.

Mast increase

Vodafone EMF unit manager Rob Matthews said: “Taller sites would improve the network by making it more resilient. There needs to be a shift around planning legislation because if we want to have world-class coverage and better mobile broadband, it will be delivered more quickly and efficiently through taller sites.”

During a parliamentary debate on reforming the Electronic Communications Code (ECC), Digital Minister Ed Vaizey said the government is committed to improving signal strength by increasing the height of masts.

“We want to increase the height at which cells can go and to increase the time in which operators are allowed to take emergency measures to repair masts,” he said.

“I have a huge mast on the top of the ridge half a mile from my home. It is unsightly. Would I prefer it not to be there? Of course I would. Does it provide great mobile coverage around the area? Yes, it does. I think that is a compromise worth making.”

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