More discussion from Merton (Surrey, south of London)

More discussion from Merton (Surrey, south of London)

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2. The responses I have received from my council through a direct email and an FOI.
I sent an email and an FOI to the council with similar questions however the responses did not match entirely.  My FOI sought to get a wider response, so it’s not narrowed down to a particular piece of Nokia tech we know is being installed locally.  I’ve not been entirely successful in this, but useful info was received nonetheless.  Below is what I sent for each, the responses I received are in red with my comments added in blue
Email I sent to Merton Council:
“A resident contacted me and let me know that at the end of Ridgway, a 5G mobile telecommunication O2 tower was installed/upgraded. The works took nearly 3 weeks, with a lot of personnel and lorries arriving each day, even a provisional traffic light was installed for weeks, causing very long queues.  The telecoms engineers confirmed it was 5G installation works but no resident was informed what the works were about.
We have confirmation that lamp posts in our borough are having wireless telecoms infrastructure fitted.  Arqiva, who have the Merton contract are saying that it is 4G (4G & 4G LTE is part of the 5G spec).  Jeff Hebden of Arqiva has been in contact.
What we know:
The equipment they are installing is for Telephonica which is trading as O2.
The equipment is made by Nokia is called Flexi Zone = antennae producing small-cell networks ( a basic document about it by Nokia is attached)
They have location tracking ability, information upload ‘back haul’ functionality
It has the capability of a directional antenna, which suggests to me it can focus and direct a signal.
It has the capability of tracking people, their location and identity
What we’d like to know but have not received answers for:
Where they are being installed and at what distance from one another?
How many are being installed and are being planned to be installed?
What data can they collect on individuals/groups?
Can the signals be focused and directed?
Are any other wireless comms infrastructure being installed on lamp posts?
What are they?
Which large transmitter do link to and where is it located?”
Council Response to email in red with my comments in blue:

 

What data can they collect on individuals/groups? They would collect exactly the same data as the normal roof top and large macro base stations. This information is what all MNO (Operators) collect from their customers
What info do Mobile Network Operators collect from customers currently?
Can the signals be focused and directed? Yes. They are either directional or OMNI directional
That’s 5G!  An aspect of it that’s not discussed much too.
Where they are being installed and at what distance from one another?  They are initially being deployed in locations where Telefonica/o2 need the coverage or the increased capacity to support their network. They are stand alone and so are not connected. As a general rule they would cover about 50m in either directions along a road.
Another biggie.  50m apart is very close, so what, a lamppost every 2 to 3 houses?  They state they are “stand alone and not connected”  This surprises me.  I am glad they are not
connected.  They say this twice, in the first bullet point and in the last one.  A follow up would then be: are they ready to be connected if and when required (is this capability already
present or ready to be added to the infrastructure?)
Which large transmitter do they link to and where are they located? They don’t link to any other transmitters. This configuration is stand alone and connects to the network via Fibre under the footpaths.
This is good to hear, but why then are large 5G enabled masts like the Three Mobile on top of Wimbledon College being pursued through permitted development?
FOI Response in red with my comments in blue:
1.  Is wireless telecoms infrastructure being installed on streetlights in
Merton or will they be?
Yes
2.  What are the locations of the streetlights in the borough on which
wireless infrastructure has been or will be deployed?
The following are the locations where “small cell” wireless telecoms
infrastructure has been installed:
Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park – on LC 038
Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park – on LC 041
Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park – on LC 044
Havelock Road, Wimbledon – on LC 003
Church Road, Wimbledon – on LC 018
Plough Lane, Wimbledon – on LC 014
London Road, Mitcham – on LC 004
Requests have been received from Arqiva for the following as possible
locations for future deployment of “small cell” equipment:
Connaught Gardens, Morden – LC 001
Central Road, Morden – LC 010
Kingston Road, Wimbledon / Raynes Park – LCs 050, 069 & 080
The Broadway, Wimbledon – LCs 006, 010 & 015
Hartfield Road, Wimbledon – LC 026
Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon – LCs 004 & 011
Haydons Road, South Wimbledon – LCs 036 & 043
Rowan Road, Streatham – LC 001
3.  If such infrastructure is being or will be installed is it 4G/4G LTE/5G or
will it encompass them all?
We understand from the information provided to us by Arqiva that the
Nokia Flexi Zone small cells installed in Merton are a 4G product.
The suggestion is only Flexi Zone tech is currently being installed and is 4G.  I have attached the Flexi zone product brochure to this email, it is true this tech does not use 5G.  However a follow up is worth doing to get clarification on whether any other equipment is currently or is planned to be installed.
4.  What are the functions of the infrastructure, for example will it :
      1. enable transmission of data – Yes – via backhaul
      2. will it have backhaul capability – Yes
      3. location tracking ability?
      4. Or does it have other function/s, if so what are they?
On parts 3 & 4 of the above question, please note the Authority does
not own or install the equipment and therefore does not hold such
detailed information on its features.  But in relation to a previous query
from you Arqiva had responded that the Nokia small cells
“collect exactly the same data as the normal roof top and large macro
base stations. This information is what all MNO (Operators) collect
from their customers.”
5. What is/are the product name and model of the infrastructure?
Nokia Flexi Zone 4G Small Cell
Again it’s been re-iterated just Nokia Flexi zone, despite the openness of the question we are told it’s 4G only.  (After a bit of reading we can see it’s 4G LTE as well)
6.  What company is being/will be used to install the infrastructure?
The Authority does not own the small cell equipment and does not
commission its installation.  Arqiva commissions its own contractors to
install the equipment. We are aware that Arqiva have commissioned FM
Conway to undertake the recent small cell installs in Merton.
Arqiva is working with FM Conway to do installations in Merton and I am sure other boroughs
7.  If they are transmitters what frequency range do they operate in?
While the Authority does not hold detailed technical information on the
equipment, Arqiva have advised
“for the variants deployed the operate on a sub set of the Standard
Mobile Frequencies – not 3G – 1900MHz, 1800MHz, 2300MHz &
2600Mhz.”
Technical people amongst us, I welcome your comments,  don’t these figures seem high??  Autonomous cars use 898 MHz after all.
8. If they are transmitters, do they have beam forming capability?
While the Authority does not hold detailed technical information on the
equipment, Arqiva have advised that they do not.
This was confusing, it contradicts what the council said in their response to my direct email!  What’s going on??  May be this is correct as only 5G has beam forming capability and Flexizone is not 5G.  However we know 5G masts are being erected or in the being applied for by operators in the borough.  Taking the responses on face-value, 5G enabled streetlights/street furniture simply do not exist currently in Merton.  However, along with masts, 5G transmitting streetlights etc are required to enable the intended applications set out in government/DCMS policy papers.
9. What is the power requirement of the infrastructure?
While the Authority does not hold detailed technical information on the
equipment, Arqiva have advised that the output from the units is 2 * 5W transmitter.  The whole system
(Small Cell Fibre driver etc.) draws a maximum of 2.5 amps
Again one for the techies to comment about, they don’t mention potential output of capacitors.
10. Which large transmitter/s do they link to?
In relation to a previous query from you Arqiva had responded that the
Nokia small cells
“don’t link to any other transmitters. This configuration is stand alone
and connects to the network via Fibre under the footpaths.”
11. Who is our local authority representative overseeing this work?
Important name below, we can contact him (politely). I think all  boroughs now have a Future<insert place name> and their associated head. For instance Croydon is proud of their Future Croydon digital strategy and are open about their approval of 5G:
“We will engage with partners interested in investing and testing technologies in Croydon, from small cells to 5G technology or new forms of wireless connectivity. Through our smart city programme, we will seek to enable easier access to assets as well as identify test bed areas for deployment. We will collaborate and work in partnership with local tech businesses, innovators and residents to ensure that their needs and solutions are aligned and that they have the space and conditions to trial their new solutions.”
It seems the Nokia Flexizone small cells is the precursor to 5G rather 5G itself.
Paul McGarry, Head of Future Merton
In relation to your questions “Are any other wireless comms infrastructure being installed on lamp posts and what are they ?”, I can confirm that Merton has installed a number of CCTV cameras and an air quality pollution monitor on its lamp posts, all of which communicate wirelessly.  In addition Merton has trialled a CMS (Central Management System) on approx. 42 lamp columns in 2013 which controls the lighting levels emitted from the lanterns and which communicates wirelessly.  It is not currently proposed to extend the use of this CMS system beyond the trial area.
Again, no mention of 5G.  So are we to assume these installations are 4G/LTE
3. A quick look at the elections hustings in Wimbledon.
I’ve not had any responses from main MP/candidates about the issues. I went my local hustings yesterday, the talking points and questions asked mirrored what is pumped out national on TV.  Hard to see the point of it.  There was cross-party concern about children and their mental health, it was the only opening I saw for 5G issues to be recognised by them, may be that is the context that they would be more inclined to respond to.
4. Attachments breaking up/summarise aspects of the 5G and the Precautionary Principle doc so it is easier to digest.
The document 5G and the Precautionary Principle on the 5GinMerton site would give people all the knowledge to be confident to discuss issues with anyone be they politicians, officials, media and communities but may feel daunting to absorb initially.  I broke parts of the document down and summarised it for the Wimbledon Park Resident’s Association, the following are attached:
  • 5G and health issues
  • 5G and democracy
Best wishes,
Asif

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