As Covid-19 swept across the world in March 2020, the spread of fake news reached an all time high. A conspiracy theory making the rounds online was the idea that 5G masts were responsible for spreading the virus. While stories like this are laughed off by many, the impact it had was far-reaching, with 5G masts across the UK becoming the target of vandalism and arson, consequently disrupting services for homes and businesses. One mast providing essential mobile connectivity to the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham was among 20 suspected arson attacks over the course of just one weekend.
Often installed in remote, dimly lit locations without surveillance, phone masts are particularly vulnerable to criminals. They can take around 18 months to build from scratch, and three months to fully repair, leaving areas with damaged masts without coverage for long periods of time.
Many networks working to protect masts are trying different approaches at securing them, including new signage to indicate when engineers are carrying out repairs, and dedicated security control centres that monitor for potential threats.
Phone masts are classed as critical infrastructure, and security requirements for critical infrastructure sites have strict requirements to ensure disruption to essential services are minimised.
To secure one telecoms site in the UK, we installed a secure fencing compound around the mast to protect it from unauthorised access. Our EuroGuard Combi fencing was chosen, a unique solution which combines steel V mesh panels with timber slats to conceal the contents, and prevent items from being passed through the fence, such as hooks or wires which could be used to tamper with the equipment inside.
High quality materials are used to construct each fence panel, including zinc alloy coated mesh, and pressure treated, kiln-dried timber, to protect them from rust and corrosion, and rot and insect attack respectively. The fixings that secure the panels to the posts are anti-vandal proof and secure the fencing system from the inside of the perimeter making it more difficult to compromise. The fencing is guaranteed for 25 years, providing a low lifetime cost due to a reduction in maintenance, which is ideal for networks with the responsibility of maintaining hundreds of masts and service boxes. The guarantee also means that services are not frequently left vulnerable due to fencing that has fallen into disrepair.
Phone masts require constant maintenance and upgrades to ensure they can keep up with high usage, so access tofor authorised personnel is essential. To allow access, we installed matching double leaf gates to provide room for specialist servicing and maintenance vehicles. The metal of the fencing was powder coated green to add an additional layer of protection and provide a pleasant appearance along with the natural finish of the timber slats.
We have experience of protecting all types of high security CNI sites from a range of threats. Contact us today to see how we can help.