One of the largest in the UK, Southampton Port is one of 21 under the jurisdiction of Associated British Ports (ABP). It processes some £40 billion in exports every year – and now it’s set to become the first mainland British port to operate with a private 5G network. Verizon says it will provide the port with “a secure, low-latency private network connection.”
ABP described the deal with Verizon as a “fantastic milestone” that would equip the port with the “state-of-the-art infrastructure needed to be at the forefront of the digital revolution in the maritime industry.”
Networks using 5G provide users with a faster and more reliable internet connection. As with the earlier-generation mobile networks, 5G relies on signals carried by radio waves, but it uses higher-frequency waves that travel shorter distances, so a 5G network requires more masts positioned closer to ground level.
The technology is not without its critics, however. Some claim 5G poses a health risk and have been campaigning vigorously against its rollout.
One such campaign group, Stop 5G, says its mission is to “protect the health and security of people, animals and the environment in the UK and Ireland by halting the rollout of harmful 5G technology.”
The World Health Organization classifies all radio waves as “possibly carcinogenic” – it is hedged its bets because the evidence of whether or not 5G can cause cancer “falls short of being conclusive”.
In the first half of last year, the UK saw almost 100 arson attacks on 5G masts, fuelled by conspiracy theories linking the technology with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Several engineers working at the installations were also attacked.