A town in southwest England has temporarily banned the local rollout of 5G after locals voiced health concerns related to the new high-speed mobile network. 5G is the fifth-generation cellular network technology that promises to replace the current 4G network used by most smartphones.
The technology offers faster network speeds capable of downloading a HD movie in seconds, more simultaneous connections and lower latency – the interval between sending and receiving data. However, there are growing concerns over suspected health risks.
More than 1600 residents from Totnes signed a petition calling for a moratorium on installing the high-frequency network until further research into its effects on health has been carried out. Local resident and self-diagnosed radiation sufferer Rosi Gladwell has even gone as far as purchasing a A$730 copper sleeping bag to block electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi.
“There has been a soaring increase in neurological diseases in the past five years and many scientists say cases of autism and dementia are due to electromagnetic radio frequencies,” she told the Totnes Times.
The town’s local council responded to the outcry by temporarily banning the rollout, although it isn’t expected to last long as planning laws will allow the district council’s development management committee to ignore any moratorium.
“I don’t think we will get anywhere with it,” town mayor Jacqui Hodgson said on the ban.
“Our concern is there will be a much higher blanket of radiation all around us. “There hasn’t really been any assessment carried out to prove it’s safe to health and the environment.
“As a town council, we have very little powers, but we can at least stand up for our community and say what we believe.”
Is 5G coming to Australia?
Telstra has 5G sites in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast.Over the next 12 months, Telstra expects its 5G coverage to reach at least 35 locations across Australia.Optus currently has 5G in more than 70 sites across Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide.Vodafone currently has no 5G network, however it will join Telstra and Optus to have the technology readily available for most Australians by 2020.
What’s the reaction locally?
Many Australians are excited for the rollout of the 5G network as it’s tipped to provide a legitimate alternative to the troubled NBN network.There are those against the technology, with small protests held in the streets of Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and smaller regional centres this year.Several anti-5G Facebook pages and Change.org petitions have also appeared, with a spike in search traffic for the phrase “5G danger” also seen.No bans are yet to be introduced in Australia
What the experts say about the health impacts of 5G
[the_ad id=”3376″]Expert advice of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) advise there is no substantiated scientific evidence that radio frequency technologies operating within national and international safety standards cause health effects.”This network currently runs on radio waves similar to those used in the current 4G network, and in the future, will use radio waves with higher frequencies. It is important to note that higher frequencies does not mean higher or more intense exposure,” ARPANSA said in a statement.”Higher frequency radio waves are already used in security screening units at airports, police radar guns to check speed, remote sensors and in medicine and these uses have been thoroughly tested and found to have no negative impacts on human health.”