By Grahame Anderson
The Government has published a new guide to 5G hoping to debunk conspiracy theories the service damages people’s health.
G is the next generation of mobile communication technology set to be rolled out across Britain over the next couple of years. It comes more than seven years after the emergence of 4G.
This fifth generation tech will see huge Improvements in speed, bandwidth and overall access – on this occasion however, the increase in data will impact mobile communications right across the board, fuelling thoughts of a conspiracy even further.
Theories even endorsed by some celebrities had earlier suggested radio waves emitted by 5G were linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Others claimed the masts were emitting dangerous levels of radiation.
Misinformation regularly put out on social media resulted in a number of communication masts being vandalised. Back In April, one such mast in Solihull, West Midlands was set alight without the perpetrators realising it was actually a 4G tower.
The European Space Agency and other meteorologists were worried the frequencies allocated for it could interfere with their ability to predict hurricanes and other weather patterns.
Government ministers were warning such misinformation was nonsense and subsequent vandalism could result in emergency calls relating to the virus not being made.
The guide explains how 5G works, confirming the watchdog Ofcom found wave emission readings taken from the masts are ‘a small fraction’ of the amount permitted by the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
It goes on to say: “Companies have been rolling out 5G in the UK since 2019.
“However, some people have raised concerns that the introduction of 5G could affect people’s health and have even linked it to the coronavirus pandemic.
“These claims are completely unfounded and should not be used as a basis to block or delay 5G rollout.”
Some of the busiest areas in the UK now have full 5G coverage including Manchester, Glasgow, Chelmsford, Birmingham, Liverpool, Belfast, Leeds, Newcastle and Bristol. Bradford and Huddersfield also have coverage.
Both digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman and local government minister Simon Clarke have written to councils to promote the new guide which can be handed out to worried constituents.
Mr Warman added: “Councils have a vital role to play in the roll-out of digital infrastructure and while there is good work going on up and down the country, there is more we can do.
“Today I’m writing to local authorities with new guidance and advice to help them break down some of the barriers to roll-out and give them the tools they need to quell quack theories about 5G.”
Both men have also called for more to be done to help find new sites for 5G masts and fibre broadband.
The West Midlands 5G project, part of the Government’s £200 million 5G testbed and trials programme, has successfully addressed many of the challenges councils face when deploying 5G technology.
Councillor Mark Hawthorne, the Local Government Association’s digital connectivity spokesman, explained: “This new suite of guidance will complement the work councils are already doing, alongside central government and local partners, to support the roll-out of digital infrastructure across local areas.”
Labour shadow digital minister Chi Onwurah said: “We welcome the government’s moves to tackle the dangerous misinformation about 5G and the coronavirus which is putting lives at risk.
“But sadly, this guidance will not solve the problem without the Government doing what is needed on the online harms bill to tackle misinformation on social media.”
Facts About Smartphones
Asian Sunday has learned 79 per cent of UK adults own a smartphone.
- On average, Brits spend two hours and 34 minutes online on their smartphones every day.
- In 2019, 72 per cent of mobile connections were 4G, up from 66 per cent in 2018.
- One in five minutes spent online is spent on social media.
According to Ofcom – we are using 25 per cent more data per month in 2019 than we were in 2018.
On average, Brits are using 2.9GB of data each month. The Office for National Statistics reported 100 per cent of 16-24-year-olds have Internet access via a smartphone, while just 40 per cent of those aged 65plus have the same access.
It’s hoped 5G will be fully rolled out by 2022 across towns and cities across the UK.