Mobile Radiation Standards to be Relaxed Ahead of 5G Roll-out

Mobile Radiation 5G

9 March 2019

Safety regulations on radiation phone mast emissions are set to be relaxed next month ahead of the planned roll out of 5G networks later this year. 

With the introduction of 5G networks on the horizon, safety regulations on how much radiation phone masts are allowed to emit are set to be relaxed next month.

Global scientific body, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), will vote on whether to relax the current restrictions on phone mast radiation.

Headquartered in Munich, the ICNIRP sets the standards on radio frequency emissions from smartphones, WiFi routers and phone masts.

Consisting of dozens of scientists, the organisation believes the guidelines can be safely relaxed, which will facilitate the introduction of 5G networks.

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Naturally, telecoms companies hope the vote will come out in their favour as the relaxation of the guidelines will allow them to establish 5G networks – which require much stronger signals.

Currently, the World Health Organisation is studying the effects of radiation from mobile networks to ascertain if it is harmful and to settle disputes between researchers over whether the signals increase the likelihood of those nearby developing cancer.

Over the past two decades, the debate over this issue has raged and there has been strong opposition to the placement of phone towers in residential areas due to fears they are emitting harmful radiation. Currently, manufacturers must ensure masts and phones comply with the limits set in 1999.

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With the impending roll-out of 5G networks, opposition to the masts has intensified as the next-generation tech will require more masts to provide the required coverage.

On the current network, 25,000 masts or cell sites are required to provide coverage for the UK mainland. However, data rates will rise with the advent of 5G, as they will need to push more power into the radio signal and larger coverage.

As a result, new masts may encroach on residential areas by being placed on bus stops, lamp posts and in homeowners’ TV set-top boxes.

Telecom companies are vocal in espousing the benefits the new networks will bring and are urging politicians to support the roll-out.

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Last month, Matthew Fell, the UK policy chief at the Confederation for British Industry urged the government to “supercharge broadband and 5G to stop UK economy from buffering,” adding that it should not be overshadowed by Brexit.

According to mobile phone companies, 5G networks will contribute billions to the economy as their super fast speeds will accelerate smart cities, homes and driverless cars. Last week, telecoms giant Vodafone announced it was launching 5G in 19 towns and cities across the UK this year.

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