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Governor’s Hill mobile coverage

At Sure we understand the importance of ongoing investment in our telecommunications infrastructure to ensure customers have access to innovative and reliable telecoms services.

We have been aware of the issues mobile customers have been experiencing in Governor’s Hill for some time and have been working hard to find a solution. Many customers currently have problems achieving a reliable mobile signal and therefore cannot access a consistent mobile service. The average speed of the mobile network in Governor’s Hill is well below the standard of service we aim to offer and which is experienced by customers in the rest of the island:

 

Low (Mbps)

Average (Mbps)

High (Mbps)

Governor’s Hill

1.5

3.5

7.6

Rest of Douglas

15

30

56

Ramsey

25

60

220

 

To provide our customers with greater reliability and quality of service we need to install new equipment at Governor’s Hill. Before we submit the planning application we want to inform all residents of our intentions and give you the opportunity to ask any questions.

We have already held two drop-in sessions at The Cat With No Tail (on Thursday 4 August and Saturday 6 August) but have agreed to hold a third public meeting at Cronk y Berry School on Monday 3 October between 6.30 and 7.30.  All residents are welcome to come along and meet our senior team, who will be available to discuss our wish to help customers in Governor’s Hill benefit from the same fast and dependable mobile service that our other customers enjoy island-wide.

Q&A

Q: Why does Sure want to put up an antenna?

 A: We’ve been working hard to find a solution to the issues mobile customers have been experiencing in Governor’s Hill. The average speed of the mobile network in the area is well below the standard of service we aim to offer and which is experienced by our customers in the rest of the island. To provide our customers with greater reliability and quality of service we need to install new equipment. We’ve chosen this style of antenna as it will blend in with the street lamp and have little visual impact. It is also the most suitable technology to improve customers’ access to the mobile network in the area.

Q: Why has Sure chosen this location?

A: We looked at a number of locations in the Governor’s Hill area but concluded that this proposed location is the most suitable. The proposed location meets the required international health and safety standards and we have discussed the proposed location with the planning department.

Diagram 1: the red circle shows the position of the street lamp and the rectangle shows the position of the radio cabinet.

Gov Hill 1

 

Q: The antenna is going to be quite close to schools and housing – should I be worried about this?

A: The proposed location meets the required international health and safety standards and we have been discussing the proposed location with the planning department. International guidelines suggest that antennae should be placed at least 100m from schools; the proposed location is over 200m from the nearest school, which is Cronk-y-Berry Primary.

Q: What are the benefits of the antenna?

A: Due to the geography of the area, Sure mobile customers in Governor’s Hill have had problems achieving a reliable mobile signal and therefore cannot access a consistent mobile service. The proposed antenna will significantly improve mobile coverage, ensuring that Sure customers living in Governor’s Hill and the surrounding area have better access to the mobile network for voice calls, sending and receiving text messages and using the internet.

Q: What is the difference between a low-visual impact antenna and a phone mast?

A: A low-visual-impact antenna is part of a phone mast system but it is visually more appealing. This type of antenna is already widely used in the Isle of Man and by other mobile operators around the world and it is much more appropriate for the Governor’s Hill area.

Diagram 2: What the proposed antenna would look like

Gov Hill 2 

Q: What is the ICNIRP?

A: The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is an independent organisation that provides scientific advice and guidance on the health and environmental effects of non-ionizing radiation (NIR) to protect people and the environment from detrimental NIR exposure.

NIR refers to electromagnetic radiation such as ultraviolet, light, infrared, and radiowaves, and mechanical waves such as infra- and ultrasound. In daily life, common sources of NIR include the sun, household electrical appliances, mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and microwaves.

Q: What research has been carried out on the health risks of mobile masts and antennae locally?

 A: The Isle of Man Government commissioned a Council of Ministers report in 2009 to review the health impacts of mobile phone masts in the Isle of Man. The report concluded that:

“The balance of evidence collected by the OWG indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near mobile phone mast base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines.” https://www.gov.im/media/623477/mobilephonemastscominreport.pdf

Q: Manx Telecom recently applied for planning permission for a phone mast in Birch Hill, why can’t Sure’s antenna be placed on their mast instead?

A: Sure and Manx Telecom operate different networks with some masts in different locations from each other. A mast in one location may resolve a coverage issue for the Manx telecom network but it may not work for the Sure network. This is the case for Governors Hill. A low-visual-impact antenna is the most suitable technology to improve customers’ access to the mobile network in the area.

Q: Will having an antenna in Governor’s Hill affect the house prices in the area?

A: House prices are influenced by a number of factors but having good mobile coverage is often a selling point for a house. People are increasingly reliant on their mobile phones for staying in touch with family and friends and for work purposes, therefore a poor mobile phone signal could put many people off buying a house. The 2009 Isle of Man Government Council of Ministers’ report to review the health impacts of mobile phone masts in the Isle of Man noted that “there are substantial benefits to mobile phone masts in terms of ability to contact the emergency services, economic benefits, convenience and reassurance.”

Q: How disruptive would the work be to install the antenna?

A: There will be minimal disruption. A small crane and delivery truck may be parked on Hailwood Avenue for two-three hours, but otherwise there would be no impact on local services.It is also possible that small scale roadworks may be required to connect power to the site, dependant on the location of underground power cables.

 

More information

Isle of Man Government ‘Report of the Council of Ministers – A review into the health impacts of mobile phone masts in the Isle of Man.’ June 2009 

UK NHS guidance 

Mobile mast information 

House of Commons, safety of mobile phones and mobile phone masts 

International commission on non-ionizing radiation protection guidelines (ICNIRP) for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic and electromagnetic fields

ICNIRP base stations

World Health Organization - Base stations and wireless technologies

Stewart Report May 2000

Public Health England - Mobile phone base stations: radio waves and health