Thursday, 21 April 2016

Strange New Masts

Over the last two or three weeks photos have been appearing online from many places around the world of unusual structures being installed in urban areas. These devices are about the height of lamp posts and are featureless cylinders with the top quarter or so expanding abruptly to a wider segment with a flat top. They tend to be metallic or white in colour. Therefore when I saw one being erected in Oxford I took some photographs of it. As you can see, there is a temporary notice attached to the apparatus announcing that it belongs to Telefonica O2 UK Ltd, one of the country's largest mobile phone service providers (And also debt-thieves!, see: It stands outside a motor showroom on Iffley Road, close to the junction with Iffley Turn. Cellular transmission towers have long been a regular landmark, as common today as post boxes and traffic lights. Yet a few years ago they were easily recognisable by their size and shape, resembling upright combine harvester blades. These new towers are far more compact and unobtrusive. They look to me a bit like electric toothbrushes embedded in the ground. It's quite likely that a large number of people will not even notice them. They could also be concealed inside other structures like church steeples, chimneypots, telegraph poles or railway signals for instance. This means people would be less likely to complain about them than they used to be when their presence was obvious, and they'd read the literature about the hazard they pose to human health and the environment. This is something revealed by researchers like Deborah Tavares and Barry Trower, see: and: Out of sight, out of mind! Let me know if you've got any of these new cellular masts near your home.


Anonymous said...

One near me Ben on the Main Road to work. I was suspicious to what it was.

Martino said...

Will do Ben.