Vodafone: 'Scilly is perfect for 5G rollout'
The Isles of Scilly is an "absolutely perfect location" for the rollout of 5G, Vodafone has said.
The company announced last September that it will launch the new technology in rural holiday destinations in the South West and Lake District this year, with the islands the first area to be connected.
Dr Rob Matthews, a senior manager at Vodafone, told Radio Scilly: "There’s a slight myth at the moment that there’s going to be a new mast every 20 metres. That really isn’t the case. What we’re looking to do is to try to upgrade the infrastructure where we can, so where there is an existing 4G mast we’re going to be looking to swap out antennas, which will be our first choice. or add extra antennas.
"The Isles of Scilly is an absolute perfect test bed because you’ve got essentially one mast covering a wide area and it allows us to really get in there and test to see what coverage is like from 5G without particularly worrying about huge overlapping cells, ie where you’re overlapping coverage with the rest of the network."
Responding to concerns from campaign group Villages Against Masts (VAM) about the possible health impact of 5G, Rob said Vodafone will comply with international guidelines.
He added: "I’m still expecting even with 5G that exposure in public areas will be hundreds of times below guideline amounts."
A petition from VAM aimed at stopping the rollout of 5G in Cornwall and Scilly currently has more than 2,000 signatures.
The technology is expected to launch on the islands later this year.