Preston gets new 5G mast in Blackpool Road

A new 65ft (20m) mast has been installed in Blackpool Road to boost 5G coverage in Preston.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:55 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:10 pm
The new 65ft mast has been erected in Blackpool Road, close to the junction with Shelley Road in Lane Ends, and is expected to boost 5G coverage in Preston

The new mast has been fitted on pavement close to the junction with Shelley Road, on the bridge over Lancaster Canal, and will replace an older 49ft mast on the other side of the road.

Approval was granted by Preston City Council in May 2020, a month after planning documents were submitted in a joint bid by mobile network operator EE/Three.

The giant mast was erected yesterday, along with seven new equipment cabinets at its base. An existing mast and its cabinets, located on the opposite side of Blackpool Road will be dismantled and removed.

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The new mast has been fitted on pavement close to the junction with Shelley Road, on the bridge over Lancaster Canal, and will replace an older 49ft mast on the other side of the road. Pic by Chris Murray

EE does not currently offer a 5G service in Preston, but it said the new mast will enable it to expand its coverage to the city. More than 160 towns and cities across the UK already enjoy 5G coverage, including Blackpool, Chorley, Blackburn and Wigan.

EE said the new masts are a "strategic necessity given the potential for 5G to help digitise wider areas of the economy." Planning documents show no objections were made from local residents or businesses about the new mast in Blackpool Road.

In February, a planning application for a 16 metre 5G mast in Ingol was refused by Preston City Council after it was deemed "out of keeping" with the preferred site which neighbours Ingol Golf Club.

What is 5G and what benefits will it bring?

When applying to Preston City Council for permission to install the masts, EE/Three included a document explaining the benefits of 5G technology.

Titled '5G and Future Technology – Delivering the UK’s Telecoms Future', it says 5G has the potential to bring "huge benefits to society".

It says examples include such things as "connected and autonomous vehicles, traffic management, smart manufacturing with autonomous machines, direct machine to machine communication, advanced medical devices, automated agriculture and greater security provision".

It adds: "The advantages this presents range from near-instant downloads of HD films to connected cars, smart medical devices and smart cities.

"5G offers download speeds far in excess of what can be achieved today, even by fixed line broadband. Such increased speeds and low latency provides the potential for far greater economic and social opportunities.

"Although 5G will undoubtedly bring new opportunities and huge benefits to society, we cannot escape from the requirement that new structures, antennas and ancillary equipment will be needed."

The mobile operators added that it is estimated that 5G will directly contribute an additional £7 billion a year to the UK economy in just six years from roll-out.

5G has provoked some concern from those who fear the powerful new radio waves could prove harmful to the public's health. But experts say there is no scientific evidence to these claims.

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