If you’re looking to grow your mobile coverage you’d traditionally think of large mobile masts, right? We have a love / hate relationship with these things, and our mast finder article has been inundated with people trying to find out where their most local mast is. Sadly, there’s nothing now that forces a mobile network to reveal mast locations, and with so many hidden in street furniture and trees, you’d be hard pushed to find them all.
The thing is, we want a strong signal, but we don’t necessarily want to live near the things. There’s still a worry about the health impact, no matter what anyone says.
However, now you’re going to have even more places to look – Vodafone are sticking masts in manhole covers.
Yes, manhole covers. It might seem bizarre, and we usually think that masts have to be high up, but with this method Vodafone can easily hook mini-masts into their fibre network to enhance their 4G coverage and build their new 5G network too. The network will also use lamp-posts and phone boxes …
..increase the speed and extend the coverage of a mobile signal along busy roads, town squares and in shopping and entertainment areas.
As everything is below ground (including the fibre cabling obviously), there’s less digging and disruption. Plus it’ll mean that home broadband can be delivered to more areas. Currently Vodafone are testing these, with one being a purpose-built unit and one using an existing cast iron manhole cover. The coverage is said to be 200 metres. They’re looking to roll out 4G under both its own manhole covers, inherited as part of its acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide in 2012, and those of utility providers across the UK.
Vodafone have already fitted small 4G antennas into traditional phone boxes in Edinburgh to increase the 4G signal at street level.