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Broadband Mast in High Halstow

At the May Parish Council, MLL Telecom consulted the Parish Council to obtain their views on a potential monopole mast required to provide connectivity to schools across the peninsula, to meet curriculum delivery requirements. This scheme is being provided by Medway Council; MLL Telecom is providing the design and delivery for them. To reach the schools one solution might involve a mast on High Halstow Hill. A high point is needed as the network needs clear, direct ‘line of sight’ between locations.

Who are MLLTelecom?

• MLL Telecom is a specialist Microwave Radio Technology company based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. From a single link between two points, to a fully designed, planned, installed and maintained solution, they offer a complete range of services to Councils, companies and mobile phone systems, as per mlltelecom.com

What does it mean to High Halstow?

• MLL Telecom are looking for a site within High Halstow to site a 20m mast which would be capable of receiving a signal from Medway Hospital which in turn would be passed to Cliffe, Stoke, Allhallows and Grain
• If the mast is placed on parish land then MLL Telecom would be prepared to give free broadband access to the Village Hall as a benefit to the community as a whole
• If additional services were then to become available via the mast then as part of the licence with the Parish Council, a source of income would be paid to the Parish Council and again this would be seen as a benefit to the community as a whole

Would High Halstow School Benefit from this service?

• Currently High Halstow Primary School has declined to join the Council scheme and therefore would not receive the service, although this does not preclude them from joining at a later date.
• Should a mast not be placed in High Halstow and the School wish to join at a later date then there could be additional costs incurred in bringing the service to High Halstow which would not be funded as part of the initial scheme

How much would it cost the residents of High Halstow to access the service?

• The details of how the service would be charged and accessed by the residents has yet to be determined as the only purpose of the scheme at the moment is to bring broadband to the schools on the peninsula
• MLL Telecom is developing a superfast broadband service for residential customers. They say they aim to provide a competitive service. This should mean prices will be between £15 and £35/month, depending on service levels. This service has not yet started so no guarantees are available and these prices may change.

What is the process involved in bringing this scheme to fruition?

• MLL Telecom are currently working through and identifying necessary sites for the masts to be sited.
• Following the landowners permission (please note if Highway land then permission is already given within existing laws) planning permission would be still be required as the mast is over 15m in height
• MLL Telecom are trying to provide service across the Council network by the start of the September term, so site choice will have to be finalised and the planning application will need to be submitted quickly.
Is it Safe?

MLL Telecom explained that the links they will be installing are narrow, focused beams, the power of which is measured in tenths of a watt, whereas mobile phone masts broadcast across the whole surrounding area at around 100watts output.

What are the Parish Council doing?

• The Parish Council learnt of these details for the first time at the meeting and are aware that MLL Telecom do not have to use our land, but are now aware that if we were to work with them, then high speed broadband can be brought into the Village Hall and a superfast broadband service could be made available to the village as a whole
• Additional sites will be identified and passed back to MLL Telecom to determine if suitable alternatives are available as clearly at the Parish meeting there were a number of people who were against the idea
• The Parish Council are also aware that MLL Telecom are now looking at alternative sites outside of the village. It is clear that if the mast does not come here, the services available would also not be coming here.
• We are now aware that it is a quick timetable but the aim that Medway Council has is for the scheme to be ready for the September term so we are seeking your views as if the Parish Council are to be involved in this process a decision may need to take place at the June meeting

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