5G rollout in Solihull could be boosted by new mast at Widney Manor station - The Solihull Observer

5G rollout in Solihull could be boosted by new mast at Widney Manor station

Solihull Editorial 22nd Jul, 2020   0

A BUS stop at a Solihull railway station could become the site of a 5G phone mast after proposals were recommended by planning officers.

Mobile companies Vodafone and O2 have put forward plans for a new 5G mast at Widney Manor station.

Councillors on Solihull Council’s planning committee are set to discuss the proposals at a meeting tonight (July 22).

The plans for the mast were called in by Conservative cabinet member Coun Joe Tildesley, who objected to the mast.

But planning officials believe the station’s bus stop area is the best site for a new mast, due to its distance from rail pylons and homes, and a nearby 4G mast.

The officers said there had been numerous objections to the mast site on the grounds of health, but followed Public Health England’s advice in their recommendation.

PHE said: “It is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area.

However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health.”

The new mast could be installed as the West Midlands becomes a testbed for a £50millon 5G project.

Along with the government, the West Midlands Combined Authority has pledged cash for the test project to set up 5G coverage, with an initial focus on using it for NHS treatment.

The WMCA said: “5G will prove critical in providing the infrastructure required to deliver remote health services over the next decade. By design, 5G’s ability to deliver real-time information (low latency), ultra-fast speeds (critical for high definition images and video), increased capacity and heightened security are going to be fundamental in scaling the patient benefits of remote healthcare and keeping medical records secure and private.

“The outbreak of coronavirus has hastened the use of technology to diagnose and treat healthcare issues remotely. Patients across the country are now becoming accustomed to relying on remote healthcare services such as NHS 111, virtual GP appointments, and online deliveries of essential medical supplies.

Tim Jones, Chief Innovation Officer at University Hospitals Birmingham, said: “With 5G, our clinicians will in the future be able to deliver holistic specialist advice in real time, potentially forming virtual multi-disciplinary teams to provide the best patient care using intelligent IT links. Information would be accessible at the point of need, ensuring informed decision making leading to improved patient safety, quality of care and patient/clinician experience.”

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