Unit 8 Messages, 8C Listening, Global network, page 86
1 set off
2 work out
3 carry on
4 go back
5 call off
6 give up
1 Mike Hi, Mary? I’m on the train. Look, I xxxx xxxx able to meet you in town this afternoon. I’m afraid xxxx xxxx work
late. Really sorry.
Mary That’s OK, Mike. Let’s arrange something for next week.
Mike Good xxxx. xxxx xxxx or Wednesday, maybe. I’ll give you a call.
Mary OK. I can’t hear you very well. Let’s speak tomorrow.
2 Kirstie Hello?
Tom Hi, Kirstie?
Kirstie Hello, Tom. Where are you?
Tom I’m xxxx xxxx, doing some shopping. xxxx xxxx from the shops? Some food for dinner, maybe, or xxxx xxxxx?
Kirstie Oh, great. Yes. Can you buy some pasta?
Tom Yes, OK. What xxxx xxxx shall I get?
Kirstie Tom, I can’t really hear you. Just get anything.
Tom OK. I’ll xxxx xxxx later. OK?
Host Good afternoon. My guest today is Julian Westbrook from the Association of Mobile Phone Networks. Welcome to the programme.
Guest Thank you.
Host Now, most of us don’t pay much attention to the mobile phone network – until we suddenly find that we can’t get a signal. But in fact, building a network that covers the whole country was a big challenge, wasn’t it?
Guest Yes, it was. After the first mobile phones appeared in the 1980s, the phone companies had to work very fast to build a network that covered as much of the UK as possible.
Host Why was there such a hurry?
Guest Basically because mobile phones became popular so quickly. In the mid-1980s, there were two mobile phone companies in the UK. The government gave them both permission to build a network. Each company was hoping to attract about 20,000 users during the next ten years. But in fact, within three years, they had half a million users each!
Host So how did they go about building this network? What is the network actually made of?
Guest Well, it’s made up of base stations – lots of base stations. There are about 52,500 base stations in the UK today. They’re all over the country, in towns and cities. Often they’re hidden – on the roofs of buildings for example – so we aren’t always aware of them. And there are hundreds of microcells in towns and cities too.
Host What are they?
Guest Microcells? Well, they’re much smaller than base stations and they aren’t as powerful, but they do the same job. Microcells are often hidden behind road signs or on the front of a building, disguised as part of it. They help to provide really good mobile phone reception in areas where lots of people need to use their phones.
Host You say that base stations and microcells are hidden – or sometimes hidden – but people still complain about them, don’t they?
Guest Yes, some people do. For two reasons, really: often, they can’t be hidden and people think they look ugly, and secondly, some people worry about the health effects of living near these base stations.
Host Yes, that is a concern for some people. But if we can just talk about the first point for moment – what people don’t understand is, why do we need so many of them? You know, why choose a historic town, with beautiful buildings, and put an ugly base station in the middle of it? Aren’t there any laws to stop that? Can’t they go somewhere else? G Well, there are rules about where you can put base stations, but the simple answer is no, they can’t just go somewhere else. To get good mobile reception all over the country, we need to have base stations quite close together. In towns, they need to be between 200 and 500 metres apart – no more than that. In the countryside, they can be between two and five kilometres apart, depending on the landscape.
Host Why do they need to be so much closer together in towns?
Guest Two reasons: firstly, there are buildings in towns, and these block the signals, and secondly, there are more people making calls. Each base station can only deal with a certain number of calls at one time.
Host I see. And what about those health effects you mentioned earlier? Is there any evidence that living near a base station is bad for your health?
Guest No, there isn’t. And there have been plenty of studies into this. But some members of the public are not always convinced by these studies. So the research continues …
Host But as far as we can tell, these base stations are safe.
G Yes, they are.
Host Julian, thank you very much.