20th Sep, 2020

West Midlands 5G rollout could be boosted by mast in Solihull car park

John Carlon 21st May, 2020 Updated: 21st May, 2020

A PUB car park in Solihull could be the new site of a 5G phone mast after proposals were recommended by planning officers.

Great British Communications has put forward plans to install the mast on the site of the Lodge pub, at Solihull Lodge. which would be used by Vodafone and O2.

The pub already has a 4G mast close by.

Six antennas would provide high frequency mobile coverage for the eastern area of Birmingham, atop a 20m high pole.

The application has received 10 objections, including from Green Party environment spokesman Coun Tim Hodgson.

But planners say the mast is necessary, as it is shared by Vodafone and O2 and there are few alternative sites in the area.

In the recommendation, planning officers said: “There is a demonstrable requirement for the proposed structure, as there are not considered to be any more acceptable alternative locations for the mast or more sympathetic design solutions, and the proposal will enable a single installation in the area to accommodate two operators rather than two separate base stations.”

The new mast would 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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