5G connectivity is a relatively new network technology in the UK. In fact, it was only rolled out in May 2019.
5G essentially works similarly to 3G and 4G, relying on mobile masts to transmit data between devices and the internet. The main difference is that 5G functions at a significantly higher frequency than both the others, but the higher the frequency, the shorter the reach. This is why 5G requires more infrastructure, such as new satellite towers, to make up for the gaps between masts.
Around the UK, there is a mass of new infrastructure being put up – and there are almost just as many objections. The speed in which 5G was rolled out has left a lot of questions. It also couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the UK continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis. With so much uncertainty surrounding 5G and what it actually entails, it’s important to stay informed and be able to distinguish myth from reality.
Myth #1: 5G will replace 4G completely
To make full use of the 5G network, you’ll need a 5G phone and you’ll need to be in a 5G-serviced area. Plus, it wasn’t created to completely replace 4G altogether. It’s meant to build on existing 4G networks. As network technology progresses, you can expect huge companies to keep pushing for faster and higher-frequency connections. One day it may even go up to 24GHz or beyond. So don’t chuck out your phone just yet even if 5G is available in your area – 4G isn’t about to become obsolete.
Myth #2: 5G is all about speeding up your smartphone
Consumers with 4G devices may experience a faster internet connection. As more people switch to 5G, it leaves a greater 4G capacity. This attracts more people online, and businesses have jumped at the opportunity. With more brands establishing themselves on the internet, even social media platforms have started accommodating retail. In fact, social commerce is changing the online experience and it’s projected to grow to a £429 billion market by 2027 – £366 billion more than its value today. People are scrolling endlessly through new shop features on all major social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok, too, very shortly. Marketers attribute this rapid growth to the rollout of 5G technology, and this benefits businesses and corporations immensely. 5G enables these organisations to access consumer data in real-time. This gives them greater control over how they can pull in more profit from online customers. While 5G speeds up your smartphone, it also speeds up the transmission of your data and information to profit-making businesses.
Myth #3: 5G is more energy efficient
Because 5G is much faster, you’d like to think that it uses less energy in the long run. While that may be true, these new frequencies have not been subjected to full environmental assessments just yet. However, the initial tests suggest that 5G may actually increase the carbon footprint. For instance, according to the High Council on Climate (2020) report in France, the carbon impact of 5G deployment in the country could amount to between 2.7 and 6.7 million tons of CO2-equivalent in 2030. What’s more, widespread 5G adoption would result in more GHG emissions from manufacturing new devices and network and data centre equipment (and even satellites in the future).
Myth #4: 5G is rigorously safety-tested
When it comes to innovation, safety is a major concern. And it’s a right for any citizen to raise questions particularly about how new technologies like 5G could impact their health. It’s even more important today when there are more cancer cases and other conditions which could be attributed to radiation. However, there’s not enough data to confirm that 5G is a hundred percent harmless to human health. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal even criticised launching 5G before public health questions are addressed. At this point, there’s not enough proof to definitively say that 5G is either completely harmless or damaging. What we do know for sure is that radiation does have health implications. What’s worse, we are measuring the impact on the human race (and all life forms) in real time, as the global population becomes more and more dependent on their mobile devices.
Myth #5: 5G Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the key areas 5G is supposedly going to benefit is the IoT. The IoT is an ecosystem that connects almost all devices to a singular network. This interconnectivity is responsible for the rapid automation and robotisation of everyday life, including self-driving vehicles and artificial intelligence (AI). 5G promises faster, more stable, and more secure connectivity between networked devices. It is also a means of collecting data about your every movement and action which can be used for marketing purposes. For corporations that rely on manpower, this is an advantage. 5G would allow them to scale easily through AI and machines. It may even herald the start of robots replacing human labor, a phenomenon that’s set to overtake 20 million factory jobs by 2030. There needs to be strict regulations concerning the use of 5G to ensure that it doesn’t do more harm than good to human welfare – preferably before its rollout.
Myth #6: 5G satellites are harmless
Before telecom masts and satellites are approved for use in Europe, they must comply with safety criteria gauging the safety of radiation emissions. Nevertheless, 5G towers are being built without universal criteria for this particular technology. Switzerland, in particular, has suspended the rollout of 5G over these specific concerns. The Swiss environment agency, Bafu, has written to the government about the need for further testing in relation to the impact of 5G radiation. There may be existing regulations for previous telecom technologies, but Bafu claims these are incomparable to 5G. 5G technology exposes individuals to more concentrated beams of low-frequency microwave radiation. Omnia’s new scientific knowledge tells us why, despite being classified as ‘non-ionising’ by the mainstream, these man-made radio waves carry an imbalance which makes the energy field incoherent with our bodies electrical circuitry and spin. The amount of new satellite towers being built right now denotes the mass electrification of our atmosphere and this is disconcerting because we have no idea of the impact on the ecosystem, nor what impact it will have on the skyline and our view of the stars. In line with this, Bafu is still working on determining legal standards for 5G. This move is unique to Switzerland, but it may be prudent for all countries to practice the same due diligence for the sake of their citizens’ health.
Myth #7: 5G is essential for modern life
5G does have its advantages. But as it is, it’s not a necessity to operate in the modern world. It doesn’t offer new features or functions relative to 4G. Yes, it may be faster, but it also requires more investment in terms of new infrastructure and 5G-ready devices. Perhaps one day, after all the safety tests are done and the majority of devices are 5G-capable, we may be able to say that 5G is essential only for certain aspects of our data-driven lives.
However, there’s still so much to learn about 5G. Debunking myths is just the first step. Then we can make a judgement call on whether it is useful to us or not and whether the impact will be positive or negative to our health and to the ecosystems that support all life on the planet.
Article written for omniaradiationbalancer.com by Jennise Van