A quiet revolution is taking place on the nation’s airwaves. But you could be forgiven for not noticing the change. You may remember that your TV set, along with nearly 20 million others in households around the country, has been re-tuned. This is to give Britain new data capacity for the 5G network.
Last week Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman confirmed completion of a £350 million major infrastructure programme to clear the 700 MHz spectrum band. Spectrum is the airwaves over which televisions, mobile phones, tablets, radios and other devices communicate. So the four-year ‘clearance’ project means greater data capability – and that’s exciting news for all of us. It should increase the capacity for mobile services in the UK - and particularly the 5G network - by nearly a fifth.
Data use is only set to grow as 5G, the next generation of mobile connectivity, becomes more available. 5G is used for an increasing array of new services and applications and in particular to connect virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices.
The last part of the infrastructure works took place at Kendal and on the Isle of Man on 19 August. In many cases engineers physically replaced antennas at the top of masts. The antennas can weigh around six tonnes and lifting them involved significant engineering feats using cranes, and sometimes special ‘Heli-Lift’ helicopters. Changes have been made to more than 1,200 television transmitter sites in some of the farthest flung reaches and on top of some of the tallest structures in the country.
The low frequency of the 700MHz spectrum band is ideal for carrying mobile signals into buildings and over long distances – including the countryside. So what can we expect from these new mobile services? For a start, poorly served rural communities should now get better mobile coverage and more reliable signals. With more of us than ever working remotely that’s good news for rural businesses. And for those of us who already get a decent 4G signal, 5G should make our coverage faster and more efficient than ever.
For property managers and the leaseholders and renters they look after, it also means greater connectivity within buildings. The way we all interact with internal systems such as security and access, fire protection, and services via resident portals is already rapidly developing as new technology comes online. The advent of 5G will enable greater interaction between people, buildings and the equipment and services they contain than ever before.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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