What is 5G?
It’s faster – super fast! Mobile networks will be faster than many current home internet connections. You will be able to download a full length film in about 3 seconds. It enables the ‘Internet of Things” where devices can interconnect, communicate and interact with each other. It opens up a realm of new technological possibilities like enabling your kettle to talk to your television or something. 5G will help establish new technologies like self-driving cars for example.
When can we have it?
The government have been urged in a report to upgrade our mobile networks to 5G as a matter of urgency. The ‘Connected Future’ report (downloadable here) decries the slow rollout of 4G and reports that the UK lagged behind the rest of the world with an almost embarrasing lethargy. Its hard to overstate the sense of urgency to implement 5G generated by the document: “The market has driven great advances since the advent of the mobile phone. But Government must now play an active role to ensure that basic services are available wherever we live, work and travel, whilst our roads, railways and city centres must be made 5G ready as quickly as possible.” It goes on to say “A lack of government action risks the UK finding itself once again near the bottom of the league tables for connectivity as 5G is rolled out.” …and with Brexit, nobody wants that!
Possible Pressure on Local Councils…
The NIC report recommendations suggest that local councils will be expected to comply with a fast rollout of the 5G infrastructure: “Support and challenge local government in their plans to enable the delivery of digital infrastructure; both in terms of ensuring that these plans help the UK to meet its national objectives, and that local authorities develop consistent approaches to support the deployment of mobile infrastructure across the country” – Existing 4G masts will need to be converted and due to the requirement for EMF waves to bypass solid objects, small transmitting stations will be appearing pretty much everywhere. Lamp-posts, trees, sides of buildings, even manhole covers!
Amongst several recommendations, the document suggests making deployment of 5G infrastructure a ‘priority‘ in local planning. Planning regulations have already been relaxed and with the transmitters becoming smaller, many may not require planning permission at all. The SHDC planning applications system reveals no current requests for permission in the Totnes area as yet.
Are there health risks?
Well, that’s not completely verifiable yet. Back in 2011 the World Health Organisation sent out a press release stating: “radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans“. That said, the alleged harmful effects of 4G networks have been disputed from many sides as to the actual levels of danger.
But 5G is a big step up from 4G. A letter created by the Environmental Health Trust demands a moratorium on the rollout of 5G with 180 signatories of doctors and scientists. The demand includes the statement: “5G leads to massive increase of mandatory exposure to wireless radiation“. The National Toxicology Program (U.S. government health department) have conducted a peer reviewed study of the effects of 2G and 3G that put safety into doubt. The factsheet states “Clear evidence of tumors in the hearts of male rats. The tumors were malignant schwannomas. Some evidence of tumors in the brains of male rats. The tumors were malignant gliomas. Some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. The tumors were pheochromocytomas.” Of course humans are not rats and 2G & 3G technology is different from 5G so this study may be totally irrelevant.
What is the problem?
The short answer is that the radiation has a wider spectrum than 4G and the claim made by EHT is that human skin has a high likelihood of absorption which may, or may not pose an increased risk of cancer. Because waves travel poorly through solid objects, the increased number of transmission stations needed for the network to function properly will also increase our exposure to the radiofrequency magnetic fields. The NIC report confirms this. The Ramazzini Instutute in Italy urged the International Agency for Research on Cancer to investigate based on the research done by the National Toxicology Program claiming that “lab animals exposed to environmental levels of cell tower radiation developed cancer“.
Is this true or ‘Fake News’ ?
A Facebook story of birds dropping out of the sky during a 5G trial in Netherlands was totally made up. Fake News!
The World Health Organization, IARC and National Toxicology Program are respected organisations with a reputations to think of. The Ramazzini Institute and the Environmental Health Trust don’t need to be quite so careful. Both these groups seem particularly concerned about persuasive powers of commerce, business and governments green-lighting a technology that has not been fully tested and checked for any harmful effects. “Collegium Ramazzini” is “an independent, international academy” With 180 fellows. One of whom is Devra Davis who also appears to be behind the Environmental Health Trust. Both these organisations have agendas with regards to health risks. This doesn’t mean they are wrong, but it doesn’t mean they are right either. This article is more re-assuring with a clear explanation of EMF emissions.
5G is currently being tested and trialled in Bristol, Birmingham and other areas, but this is more about product development than prioritising public health, and based on the urgency of the Government report, it looks like on it’s way here very soon indeed.