Telecommunications towers in the United Kingdom


Telecommunications towers in the United Kingdom

The two major operators of radio masts and towers in the UK are Arqiva and National Grid Wireless (according to Arqiva entry they have now merged).Fact|date=August 2008

Between them, these two companies operate the transmitters for UK terrestrial TV and most radio broadcasting, both analog and digital.

BT also operates a number of telecommunications towers in the UK. At one time these were used as the backbone for a national line-of-sight microwave telecommunications network. One of the most famous of these is the BT Tower in London. However, the introduction of fibre optic network technology rendered these microwave towers largely obsolete for their original purpose. Nowadays they tend to be used mainly for relatively low capacity fixed links to customer sites and cell sites.

Below the level of the major telecommunications towers, cellphone operators run roughly 23,000 base stations. In urban areas, these are almost all rooftop sites or microcells, but in rural areas these are often on towers, frequently owned by one of BT, Arqiva or National Grid Wireless.

There are also numerous military communications sites in the UK, operated by various wings of the armed forces. Many of the masts and towers at military sites are now marketed to commercial site sharers by Arqiva.

History

The first UK microwave relay towers were built in about 1952 for a television link between Manchester and Kirk o'Shotts near Glasgow. A chain of 14 towers, known as "backbone", running from the Chilterns to Scotland and intended primarily for national defence in the Cold War, was first mentioned publicly in the 1955 Defence White Paper. It announced "The Post Office are planning to build up a special network, both by cable and radio, designed to maintain long distance communication in the event of an attack". It wasn't actually built until the early 1960s, by which time the original Backbone concept had become absorbed into a much larger microwave network built for a mixture of civil and defence traffic including voice, telegraphy, television and radar.Fact|date=May 2008

ee also

* Telecommunications in the United Kingdom
* BT Tower (disambiguation)
* BT site engineering code
* Radio masts and towers
* Telecom Infrastructure Sharing

External links

* [http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/wireless/ National Grid Wireless]
* [http://www.arqiva.com/ Arqiva]
* [http://www.ntl.com/locales/gb/en/broadcast/wireless-solutions/index.asp NTL Wireless Solutions]
* [http://www.sitefinder.radio.gov.uk/ Sitefinder: UK mobile phone base station database]
* [http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/features/backbone/ The Towers of Backbone]


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