There has been allot of talk about 5G in the UK, for those who are not aware of it 5G means fifth generation technology which many phone companies have promised it would be to be up to 100 times faster than 4G and 2,000 times faster than 3G. So when did 5G officially arrived in the UK? Two networks EE and Vodafone offered 5G plans in May 2019, EE says the whole of the UK should have access to 5G as early as 2022 next year. Vodafone is already promising faster speeds via its 5G network than current average download speeds from home broadband, 5G is mainly about speed so the question we should ask is 5G worth it? Many would say it is worth simple because it is faster and customers love products that are lightening quick, however what about health and safety? 5G is being touted as a necessary step to the ‘internet of things’ which is system of interrelated, internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.
In the US most people believe that the Federal Communications Commission carefully assesses the health risks of these technologies before approving them. But in testimony taken by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut the Federal Communications Commission admitted it has not conducted any safety studies on 5G. Microwave radiation and millimeter waves are used by 5G radiofrequency radiation, These high frequencies in 5G are where the biggest danger lies. While 4G frequencies go as high as 6 GHz, 5G exposes biological life to pulsed signals in the 30 GHz to 100 GHz range. The general public has never before been exposed to such high frequencies for long periods of time.
5G leads to massive increase of mandatory exposure to wireless radiation and will massively increase the microwave and millimeter wave radiation in our environment, more than 230 scientists from more than 40 countries have already expressed their concerns regarding the increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices already before the additional 5G roll-out. EMF is short for electromagnetic fields and as for whether EMF is harmful to people the International Agency for Research on Cancer which is part of the World Health Organisation admitted that EMF’s are “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. Scientists who reject 5G says health effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages.
On January this year the UK government announced a £28m joint investment scheme with businesses in the country to fund nine national projects covering use of 5G in AR, private networks and open RAN. The government has also provided £15m of the funding to be shared across the nine projects, with the remaining £13 million coming from project partners. These include operator EE, which worked with technology companies to create a new AR app set to be released alongside a new television series called the Green Planet, which enables users to stream holographic videos of parts of the show. It all sounds bright and rosy on paper however the reality is there are scepticism about the use of 5G and masts in many regions of the UK.
Plans to build a tall 5G mast in Caversham which Vodafone applied to install have been rejected by the Reading council, in Liverpool Knowsley councillors described 5G company MBNL a joint venture between phone companies EE and Three as ‘arrogant’ and ‘ugly’ before rejecting plans for a phone mast in their area. In Oldbury the Sandwell Council planning officers used delegate powers to throw out the application to build 5G mast in Abbey Road, Bearwood. Brighton and Hove City Council also banned the installation of new 5G masts because of a perceived risk to public and ecological health. Exeter City Council also refused to have a 5G mast installed in the heart of the Cowick conservation, describing it as ‘awful and inappropriate’.
All this as not gone unnoticed by the UK government, in October last year the Minister for Digital and Broadband Matt Warman stated he would write to all UK planning authorities saying they should not oppose 5G roll-out without “legitimate grounds and evidence”, despite the intervention by the government many councils across the UK are expected to object to 5G masts being installed in their area due to health, should scientists provide solid proof that 5G causes long term health damage then more people will surely ask questions about the government’s motives, is faster phones really worth risking people’s health?