News for United Kingdom

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ViaSat-2: Satellite goliath goes into orbit
United Kingdom Created: 14 Jun 2017
The most powerful commercial broadband satellite ever built has just gone into orbit on an Ariane rocket.

ViaSat-2, which is to be stationed above the Americas, has a total throughput capacity of about 300 gigabits per second.

The spacecraft was part of a dual payload on the Ariane flight. It was joined by Eutelsat 172B, a UK/French-built platform to go over the Pacific.

Both satellites will be chasing the rampant market for wi-fi on aeroplanes.

Airlines are currently in a headlong rush to equip their fleets with connections that will allow passengers to use their mobile devices in mid-air.

More than 6,000 commercial aircraft worldwide were offering an onboard wi-fi service in 2016; it is expected more than 17,000 will be doing so by 2021.

In-flight internet has traditionally had a terrible reputation, but there is a feeling now that the latest technology really can give passengers a meaningful slice of bandwidth and at a competitive price.

*SNIP* read the entire article via the source link below...
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Source: BBC, Jonathan Amos, 02 Jun 2017

Bidders tune into sale of £6bn mast monopoly Arqiva
United Kingdom Created: 29 May 2017
A multibillion-pound bidding bidding war over the monopoly on Britain’s television masts, as well as thousands of mobile phone masts, is about to get underway as bankers gear up for the sale of Arqiva.
Infrastructure funds and specialist wireless mast owners have been invited to express interest in the company this month, according to City sources.
Arqiva’s owners, a consortium including the Australian investment bank Macquarie and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, are understood to be putting it up for sale with a price tag of between £5bn and £6bn. Rothschild is conducting the auction.
The move signals that hopes of a stock market float for the company have been abandoned. Complications surrounding Arqiva’s £3bn debt pile are thought to have made a public offering unfeasible, sources said.
The company is Britain’s biggest independent owner of mobile masts with around 8,000 sites on which it rents space to telecoms operators.
Arqiva also operates the national television broadcast network and most of the country’s radio transmitters, having acquired National Grid Wireless a decade ago for £2.5bn.
The sale is expected to attract interest from consortiums of foreign infrastructure investors of the type who have recently battled it out over the National Grid gas distribution network and City Airport. They are likely to include Chinese funds, sources said, potentially raising questions over Arqiva’s status as an owner of critical national infrastructure.
Chinese ownership of vital British infrastructure is now viewed as politically sensitive in the wake of the controversy surrounding Hinkley Point. Theresa May paused the energy project last year for a national security review that resulted in new safeguards being imposed on future nuclear power stations.
Arqiva is also likely to draw interest from companies that specialise in operating communications masts, a sector undergoing consolidation across Europe. Spain’s Cellnex, one of Europe’s biggest mobile mast owners, recently entered the UK market with the €393m (£337m) takeover of Shere Group, a operator with 540 British masts.
Cellnex sources said the deal was an opportunity to learn about the UK market as a possible prelude to further expansion. A bid for Arqiva would represent a radical move for a company with a market capitalisation of less than £3bn.
The company is on the block following an overhaul under new management, including a refinancing in November that simplified its debts.
Its chief executive, telecoms industry veteran Simon Beresford-Wylie, is targeting growth in the mobile market as revenues from broadcasting are in long, slow decline.
It is expected that Britain will need thousands more mobile masts to cope with demand for internet access on the move and the shift to the 5G technology that will be essential to driverless cars.
Mr Beresford-Wylie has also sold off sideline businesses such as Wi-fi hotspot network, to Virgin Media, and sought to improve Arqiva’s standing with mobile operators by making the company more responsive to upgrade requests.
At its last quarterly financial results, Arqiva reported a 10.3pc increase in sales to £230.2m and an 11.9pc increase in underlying earnings to £109.9 million.
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Source: The Daily Telegraph, Christopher Williams, 31 Jan 2017

Smart-Attack!! (a must-watch)
United Kingdom Created: 17 May 2017

Watch 4½ minute video here:

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Ever wondered why your energy supplier and governments are so keen to give you a smart meter?

We lay out some not-so-good reasons in this 4 minute animation. Your private data, lifestyle and behavioural choices can be amalgamated into a data-set that is monetised and sold to 3rd party companies. Our usual satire of dark subjects aim to entertain and inform you.

Please download and upload to your own channel. We ask you to not change, edit or cut it short in anyway. If you upload it please link back to our channel here and our website so others can grab it.

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Source: Infomaticfilms, 15 May 2017

Marden residents opposing construction of telecommunications mast offer to dig into their own pockets to halt development
United Kingdom Created: 10 May 2017
RESIDENTS opposing the construction of a telecommunications mast in a county village have offered to dig into their own pockets in a bid to halt the development.
Steve and Gill Williams are so concerned about the potential impact of the mast – which could be built on land at Marden Tennis Courts – that they have offered to pay £37,500 to the village's recreational trust which manages the site.
It is the same amount being offered by the joint developers – Shared Access and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd – for a 25-year lease to site the mast, which already has prior planning approval.
Mrs Williams said the couple’s concerns – which are shared by many others in the village including the head teacher of Marden Primary Academy – relate to the proximity of the proposed mast to the village school and houses and the impact on the landscape.
They have instructed solicitors to deal with their offer of the money to the Marden Recreational Trust, which asks that trustees do not sign the lease for the mast on that site.
She said: “Everyone we have spoken to is opposed to it. Everyone feels there should have been an open meeting or public consultation with trustees and partners before agreeing to allow it at the planning stage.
"Whether there are proven health issues or not, as they say there are not, there is still a great deal of public fear and worry and anxiety.”
She added that they are not against masts in principle but there are other sites available which would situate it further away from the school and playing fields, which they would be willing to offer.
inRead invented by Teads
In a planning statement, the applicants state that the proposal fully complies with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and that the proposal would contribute towards the government's commitment to maintain and improve communications networks across the UK.
In a summary for residents, Marden Parish Council said the lease has to be signed by the Marden Recreation Ground trustees and by the parish council in its role as 'custodian trustee'.
In a planning statement, the applicants state that the proposal fully complies with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and that the proposal would contribute towards the government's commitment to maintain and improve communications networks across the UK.
In a summary for residents, Marden Parish Council said the lease has to be signed by the Marden Recreation Ground trustees and by the parish council in its role as 'custodian trustee'.
"The custodian trustee (the parish council) must sign the lease if requested to do so by the trustees, unless the council considers the trust has acted ‘ultra vires’," it said.
"If either the trustees or the parish council do not sign the lease and the agreement is not completed, the trust will not receive the money and it will be liable for its legal costs.
"In addition, as planning permission has been granted, because of the telecommunications law, the company can get a court order that allows it to site the mast (without paying any money to the trust) and can ask for costs against the trust and/or the parish council.
A petition containing several hundred signatures will be handed in at the next parish meeting on Monday (May 8). It takes place at 7pm at Marden Community Centre.

Read at link:

Jessica Phillips, Senior reporter / @jessphillips_HT

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Source: Jessica Phillips, Senior reporter / @jessphillips_HT

Millions of 'smart' meters may have to be replaced
United Kingdom Created: 7 May 2017
Six million first generation smart electricity and gas meters installed in homes since 2012 may have to be replaced to make them work with a new communications network which was switched on in November but is still not being used. Despite that, energy companies are busy installing more of these early models to meet a government target to get one in every home by the end of 2020. The new design is still being tested with the new network and are not expected to be installed until later this year. DCC, the company responsible for the network, will shortly begin a consultation on how the old meters might be connected to it. A spokesman agreed it was possible that they would all have to be replaced. We get an expert view.

(M.V. editors comment: this is a perfect example of officials sitting on their hands, eyes closed, praying for the best, instead of actually working to prevent problems in the first place).

Listen to the BBC report via the source link below...
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Source: BBC Radio 4 Money Box, 29 Apr 2017

VIDEO: Fight is on against plans for mobile mast in Sheffield
United Kingdom Created: 3 May 2017
Scores of city residents hope to block a developer’s plans to put up a mobile phone mast on a green verge. Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited, known as CTIL, wants to install the 12.5m pole and two cabinets on the patch of grass in Totley Brook Road, Dore.

The site is near the bus terminus opposite King Ecgbert School. The firm, which is a partnership between Vodafone and Telefónica - which owns O2 - says there is a need for a mast in the area to provide new 4G mobile phone services as well as 3G and 2G. But many people living in Dore have raised concerns about CTIL’s plans. So far more than 60 objections have been passed to Sheffield Council. Among those fighting the proposal is Lindsay Brittain, who said there were still people living near the site who didn’t know about the mast.She also raised concerns about house values and road safety.

“It’s at the bottom of my garden,” she said. “There are links to cancer and to hormones being affected.” Mrs Brittain - who broadcast a video about the plans live on Facebook before The Star's photographer turned up, above - said residents had successfully campaigned against a previous application. “In other areas they are largely not allowed to put masts near homes or schools,” she said.

“The previous one was right in the centre of the village. Everyone was up in arms about that, and it got stopped.” The Dore Village Society also objected, saying the mast would be ‘visually intrusive and detrimental to visual amenity in this very public location at the bus terminus’.

A CITL spokesman said: "O2 customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel. "O2 identified that they need to improve the coverage to their customers in Dore and proposed a new base station on Totley Brook Road. "Extensive pre-application consultation was carried out with letters issued to the MP, three local councillors and a number of local education facilities. "We have now submitted an application for this development to the local planning authority and are waiting for their decision. "This proposal will allow for the provision of improved 2G, 3G and 4G services for O2 customers. "All Vodafone and O2 base stations operate well within guideline safety limits, below these guidelines there is no evidence of adverse health effects for any members of the public."
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Source: Sheffield Telegraph, Alex Moore, 03 May 2017

Vodafone’s bid for ‘monster’ phone mast at Clevedon Golf Club rejected by North Somerset Council
United Kingdom Created: 23 Apr 2017
Fears it could fall down on homes, would ‘utterly ruin’ the countryside and damage trees led to the council’s planning committee rejecting Vodafone’s plan.

The telecoms giant wanted to build it on Clevedon Golf Club’s land, but there has been confusion over whereabouts on the course.

Vodafone wanted it nearer to the ninth green than the club, but those concerns are redundant following the council’s decision on April 12.

Nicola Hodges, who lives in Linkside near the proposed site, told councillors that allowing the mast would cause damage to the surrounding area.

She said: “The access track to the mast would have to run along the back or houses and there’s a deep copse (there) which house bats, owls and other wildlife and this would have to be destroyed.”

Of greater concern to planning officers was the trees around the proposed mast which they felt would be damaged or removed.

Cllr David Shopland said concern for trees was a ‘feeble’ excuse for refusing the plan, adding the 80ft mast so close to houses was a more pressing concern.

He said: “It (the mast) is 24 metres high which is nearly twice the height of the clock tower outside (Weston Town Hall).

“If it falls down, it would probably fall towards the houses.

“It’s out of keeping, it’s too big and it shouldn’t be there.”

He said it would ‘utterly ruin’ the surrounding area and was ‘a monstrosity’.

Cllr Chris Blades recommended the council refused the ‘quite grim’ scheme, and the motion was carried.

However, Cllr Bob Garner argued there was need for people to be ‘less precious’ about having phone masts near their homes, otherwise mobile phone signal will remain poor in parts of North Somerset.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: North Somerset Times, Tom Wright, 23 Apr 2017

Furious residents say 'no' to 50ft phone mast plans in Tettenhall
United Kingdom Created: 23 Apr 2017
Furious neighbours have objected to plans for a 50-foot mobile phone mast being put up in their leafy suburb of Wolverhampton under new plans – despite objections from furious neighbours.

A petition has been handed to Wolverhampton City Council planners over the mast, set for Tettenhall, which would have three antennae, microwave dish and various equipment cabinets.

The site, on land owned by the Severn Trent Water, is close to homes on Manor Street and Limes Road, and sits within a wider residential area. Householders are worried the mast will have a ‘severe detrimental effect’ on their health and will spoil the look of the pretty upmarket neighbourhood.

A total of 26 objections have been received against the plans.

But planning officers are urging the council to grant planning permission for the structure, which they say is 30 yards from the nearest property on Limes Road and 80 yards from homes in Manor Street.

Conservative Councillor for Tettenhall and Wightwick, Wendy Thompson, said: “What’s important is how the residents view these things and very often these things are extremely unpopular. They can be very unsightly.

“I think it’s of the upmost importance the design that has been approved is one of the least unsightly and obtrusive as possible. “For example, There is one in the Claregate area I think is particularly unsightly, however, there is one on Yew Tree Lane which people walk past without ever noticing. Hopefully this design will be one like the latter.”

Four years ago, Tettenhall residents lost an appeal to stop a mobile phone mast following a long-running wrangle. They had argued a ‘beautiful gateway into the city’ would be ruined by the structure at the Wergs Garage site. A 49ft mast providing ‘emergency coverage’ was initially installed. And last September a towering phone mast installed by Vodafone, alongside the A41 Tettenhall Road, opposite The Newbridge pub, caused a storm of protest.

Planning officers say this latest application should not be turned down on health grounds because it met government guidelines on public exposure to radiation protection.

It is also believed by some councillors to address signal issues being faced by the emergency services when they enter the area.

Councillor Udey Singh who represents Tettenhall Regis ward said: “I hope that the telemast company have some consideration for the harm that can be caused by radiation in built up areas. However, I think, all things considered that this was necessary for the area - as I understand the emergency services found it difficult to retain signal in the area. I understand that some people have objected to the plans but if we think about it - it could be a matter of life and death if the emergency services don’t have signal so it is important we give them the tools to carry out their jobs.”

The say the proximity of a 47ft high tree within the site would minimise the visual impact on the look and character of the street, as the colour of the monopole would be green.

The council’s planning committee meets report to Tuesday.’s(25th) panning committee states: “Whilst residents have concerns on health issues, the proposal should not be refused on the ground of health as central government clearly states that the planning system is not the place for determining health safeguards.

“The proposed location of the monopole situated beside a 14m high tree, at a height of 15m and painted green is considered to be acceptable. The impact of the proposal on visual amenity is not to an extent to justify refusal.”

Leon Jeffs who works at Le Monde based on Upper Street, Tettenhall, said: “Well it depends exactly when it’s going to happen and what it’s going to look like.

“I understand that these things have to go up to improve phone signals, but I personally don’t have a problem with my signal when I’m at work.

“I think it needs to be made clear exactly what’s happening and when so that residents and people that work around here can have their say.”
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Source: Express & Star, 22 Apr 2017

Samsung will start testing gigabit 5G fixed broadband in London and 11 US areas
United Kingdom Created: 20 Apr 2017
Samsung Electronics says it will start the UK's first 5G broadband network in central London, following earlier trials South Korea, China and Japan. In London, it will work with Arqiva, which is best known for DAB radio broadcasting. Arqiva has a licence to use the 28GHz spectrum across the UK, and will host a number of Samsung's 5G base stations.

Arqiva's CEO, Simon Beresford-Wylie, said: "Our trial with Samsung will demonstrate the enormous potential of 5G FWA as an alternative to fibre for delivering ultra-high speed connectivity to homes and businesses." He promised "1Gbps and significantly reduced latency (delay), along with super high reliability for mission critical applications."

Samsung also said it was working with Verizon to offer 5G access in the USA. It said customer trials will start in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington DC in April, "with a fifth location in Michigan starting trials later". Separately, Verizon said it "will begin offering 5G to pilot customers during the first half of 2017 in the following metropolitan areas: Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Bernardsville (NJ), Brockton (MA), Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, DC" - a total of 11 areas. It needs to test performance in different topographies and areas where different building materials are used, for example.

Samsung said in a statement: "In pre-commercial testing started from early December last year, the 5G system demonstrated multi-gigabit throughputs at radio distances of up to 1,500 feet (500 meters) across each of the different environments selected for the customer trials."

Verizon said its 5G network was able to support 4K video streaming with fixed wireless access (FWA) equipment. In tests, it can deliver speeds of well over a gigabit per second.

Whether it can be done profitably is another matter.

In the UK, there have been several attempts to replace broadband with various types of FWA. The most recent failure was UK Broadband's Hong Kong-backed Relish, which signed up only 15,000 customers before being sold to Three for £250 million. According to the Financial Times, "Three justified the price tag by pointing to the valuable spectrum owned by UK Broadband, which will help set the company for a 5G launch in the future."

Samsung has invested heavily in 5G and owns a number of patents in the field. On February 19, it "announced the commercial readiness of its 5G RF Integrated Circuit (RFIC) which is an important component that will be used in the production and commercialization of next-generation base station and other radio access products."

The RFIC chip's availability is behind the new efforts to deploy 5G in the field.
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Source: ZDNet, Jack Schofield, 25 Feb 2017

Outrage over 15m phone mast in Butleigh playing field next to children's nursery
United Kingdom Created: 20 Apr 2017
The Parish Council complained of apathy over the fact parishioners had not come forward sooner - But one parish councillor, Wayne Moore-Read, said his peers should reconsider.

Mr Moore-Read said: "It doesn't matter why they've asked us to change our views - 210 people have signed a petition requesting that the location of the mast is changed. In an ideal world, they would have been here sooner, but they're here now and want to communicate."

Despite this, some of Mr Moore-Read's fellow councillors remained unchanged.

Alan Carr, who heads up the Parish Council, said: "We work for the whole village, as we always have done. I think it's the right thing to do and after what I've heard tonight, it makes me even more sure."

Residents left with mixed emotions, but some were frustrated.

"A large number of villagers feel the Parish Council has openly ignored their concerns and the benefits offered by the alternative location," said Butleigh resident Andrew Petherick.

"To do this in the very meeting created to listen to what they had to say was discourteous and patronising. By showing it was listening to dissenters, the Parish Council would have galvanised the community, both young and old, together in one room. It missed this golden opportunity."

The arguments

Parishioners were then invited to share their views in strict three-minute time slots.

Those in favour mentioned fears over poor outdoor signal which could prevent them from making emergency calls when outside and tried to allay concerns over potential health risks by outlining the different tiers of radiation the public are exposed to every day. Levels of radiation emitted by a mast were placed towards the lower end of the spectrum.

Those against the mast's location – including a representative of the nursery and primary school - spoke of the effect the 'perceived risks' would have on nursery and school numbers and the footfall at the post office - the only shop in the village.

"The perceived risks to people's health are huge," said one resident. "Nursery staff don't want to work close to the mast. New families, which are the very lifeblood of the village, will be put off moving here. Numbers at the school are already dwindling – if the school closes, it jeopardises the whole future of the village. I don't understand why the Parish Council would want to risk this, especially as alternative sites have been offered."

A young father, who said he was new to the village, questioned the relevance of the mast in a modern world where apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Face Time, all of which rely on WiFi not mobile signal, are becoming the preferred means of communication.

The contract for the mast is due to be issued this week and is scheduled for signing in a meeting on April 25.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Somerset Live, Claire Herbaux, 19 Apr 2017

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