The City of Wolverhampton is committed to supporting the rollout of future-proofed digital infrastructure in order to make the city a more attractive place to live, run a business and invest.

Our Digital Infrastructure Strategy (available in the Downloads section on this page) sets out our approach to supporting the rollout of full fibre broadband and wireless connectivity including 5G.

    Most of Wolverhampton can currently get superfast and ultrafast speeds. Here you can check current connectivity in your area.

    Full fibre broadband will meet future demands for connectivity arising from internet traffic growth, video on demand, cloud services, 5G backhaul, reliability and the explosion of IOT devices - and recognising wider economic and service delivery benefits.

    The City of Wolverhampton are a wave 2 area for the Local Full Fibre Network connecting public sector premises across the city.  Construction of the network has started and is due to continue until March 2021.  All residents affected will receive notice by post 7 days before.  If you encounter any issues during the build, please contact CityFibre’s 24/7 helpline on 0800 083 6160.

    To upgrade connectivity in your area:

    Residents can get together and express an interest in finding a solution to infrastructure providers including:

    For residents seeking support to get online to improve their digital skills or keep in touch with families and friends, go to  www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow and here to access public services.

    Developers: for new build developments, developers should consider that fibre is increasingly a key consideration for house buyers and businesses with many viewing fibre as essential as standard utilities.  Many infrastructure providers will install fibre at no or minimum cost depending on the size of the development including:

    Note: this list is not exclusive.  It is advisable that the opportunity is made open to more than one infrastructure provider since it offers maximum choice for residents/tenants and minimises disruption caused by future rollouts.

    Fixed Network Operators: the Council’s aim is to support the rollout of future-proofed digital infrastructure by simplifying processes and standardising agreements in line with the Electronic Communication Code based on best practice elsewhere.

    To support the rollout of full-fibre broadband in the city, we have adopted an approach to speed up the installation of full-fibre broadband including standard wayleave agreement subject to agreement of the rollout plan and process.  To request a master wayleave for City of Wolverhampton buildings, please e-mail digital.infrastructure@wolverhampton.gov.uk

    5G is mobile internet as fast as fibre with speeds up to 1GB with huge capacity to connect thousands of uses and devices at consistently ultrafast speeds.  It is ultra-reliable, secure and low latency (doesn’t drop connections) which could be transformational for industry.

    Wolverhampton is one of only nine cities in the UK where all four Mobile Network Operators have announced rollout in Wolverhampton.

    The City of Wolverhampton is working closely with West Midlands Combined Authority's Urban Connected Cities project WM5G to support the rollout of 5G, including facilitating access to assets, simplifying processes and standardised lease agreements in line with the Electronic Communication Code 2017.  For more information, please contact Digital.Infrastructure@wolverhampton.gov.uk

    Commercial developers should note that some modern construction act as a faraday cage for 5G therefore inbuilding infrastructure would be required for their tenants to access 5G. 

    Traffic and Highways

    5G Frequently Asked Questions
    What is 5G and how is it different from 4G

    5G is the next generation of mobile broadband. With 5G, you’ll see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other via wireless networks, will also drastically decrease. Also, low power consumption will allow connected objects to operate for months or years without the need for human assistance.

    What are the benefits 5G can bring?

    5G offers faster mobile broadband, with speeds that will allow a full HD movie to be downloaded in 10 seconds as opposed to 10 minutes today, more consistent experience in congested areas with a very high number of devices.  Eventually, it will enable new services and applications including:

    • faster mobile broadband and a more consistent experience in congested areas with a very high number of devices
    • industrial applications, enabling businesses to improve their productivity, for example through predictive maintenance and real-time analytics
    • Internet of Things (IoT) services, many of which will help councils and businesses deliver services more efficiently including:
      • transport and logistics: connected parcels and fleet tracking
      • health and social care
      • environmental monitoring: sensors monitoring air quality and water pollution in real-time
      • smart retailing
      • connected and autonomous cars: allowing cars to communicate with each other, other road users and even the road infrastructure

    We are working closely with WM5G to test 5G use cases across a range of different areas.

    What are the benefits 5G offers over 4G?

    Lower Latency: 5G will also have significantly lower latency meaning very little lag (or buffering), with reaction times faster than the human brain. This will enable applications that simply aren’t possible today, such as: multiplayer mobile gaming, factory automation, and other tasks that demand quick responses.

    Greater Capacity: 5G will also have vastly greater capacity so that networks can better cope with not only the rapidly increasing data demands of customers today but the growth of high-demand applications being planned in the future.

    Will 5G require new infrastructure?

    Yes. In the first phase of deployment; this will involve either modifying and strengthening existing sites to accommodate the 5G transmitters and other equipment or building some new sites.  Upgrades will begin with rooftops then move onto upgrading masts.

    Why do the masts have to be so high?

    Masts will need to increase in size to accommodate additional 5G whilst retaining 2G, 3G and 4G.  The antennas on a base station must be located above the street clutter to ensure that the signal can travel around the local area. When new technologies are added to a base station site the mast will need to be higher to ensure all antennas are above the street clutter.  Base stations need to be sited to maximise coverage and ensure residents and businesses can get good signals.

    What about the positioning of the Masts?

    Masts need to be sited to maximise coverage and ensure residents and businesses can get good signals.  Mobile Network Operators sign up to the Code of Best Practice which outlines how they must develop networks responsibly, undertake appropriate community engagement and suitable pre-application consultation with resident and community representatives as well as ensuring equipment is designed in line with local planning policies.

    The ability of councils to influence the roll-out of mobile technology is limited by central government regulations.  As a Planning Authority, we are encouraging pre-application discussions with Mobile Network Operators to agree locations considering factors affecting the visual impact of new electronic communications infrastructure to be location and design.  Siting and design of the infrastructure needs to be sensitive with infrastructure designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, minimising the contrast between the infrastructure and its surroundings, considering colour of equipment and landscaping/screening of infrastructure.

    The mast is near my house, how safe is it?

    The construction and operation of masts are subject to regulations and guidelines to protect health and safety.  They must comply with International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) public exposure guidelines.  These Guidelines are recommended to the telecommunications industry by the World Health Organisation, the EU and the UK Government.  Mobile phone base stations are generally composed of a cabin or cabinet, which houses electrical equipment that generates the radio signal, a supporting structure such as a tower of pole and set of antennas.  Only antennas emit radio waves.  Antenna positioning, signage and physical barriers are used to prevent public getting too close to the equipment.

    Is 5G bad for my health?

    5G, like 4G, 3G and 2G, uses radio waves, a type of electromagnetic field, to transmit and receive voice and data. Virtually everyone in the modern world is exposed to electromagnetic fields by manmade sources including TV and radio transmissions, communications by emergency services, medical and factory equipment, electronic car keys, baby-listening devices, WiFi and any household appliance that uses electricity.

    Research into the safety of radio signals has been conducted for more than 50 years. The strong consensus of the public health agencies, such as the World Health Organisation, is that no health risks have been established from exposure to the low-level radio signals used for mobile communications.

    Public Health England advise that the current exposure of the general public to radio waves is well within the international health-related guideline levels that are used in the UK.  They said that when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area the overall exposure to radio waves is expected to remain low relative to these guidelines.   As such there should be no consequences for public health.  UK network operators implementing 5G are committed to complying with the current guidelines.

    What safety guidance does the UK adhere to?

    In line with advice from World Health Organisation (WHO), the UK Government has adopted the exposure limits developed by International Commission on Non- Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) who monitor all new research. The ICNIRP safety guidelines are designed to protect people of all ages, including children. All UK mobile network build their networks within these guidelines. The ICNIRP guidelines cover all frequencies used for mobile telephony, including those being allocated for 5G.

    What about security concerns?

    There are ongoing discussions regarding 5G and security concerns, including the equipment used in various parts of the network.  Operators will comply with all statutory requirements with regard to security issues.

    Will 5G interfere with weather forecasts?

    Concerns have been raised that 5G signals could interfere with weather forecasting, this is under discussion in the meteorology community and measures have been introduced to address any potential issues.

    What are small cells and why are they needed?

    The initial rollout of 5G will be based on the upgrade of the current mobile network. Mobile Network Operators utilise small cells to cover gaps in coverage where the broader network cannot reach. Additionally, small cells will provide additional capacity in high density transit areas such as railway stations and sports stadiums.

    Sources: www.mobileuk.org/5g, Councillor Guide to Connectivity, Cornerstone Community Information, Code of practise.

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