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5 Reasons Why… Telecoms is Important in Society

Fayza Bjayou

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1. Telecommunication and Governance

New communication and information technologies are contributing to good governance. Telecommunication technology keeps citizens informed. They’re now more aware of what’s going on in their environment than ever before. This pushes many governments to be more accountable and to maintain an efficient system encouraging more political transparency and citizen participation.

2. Telecommunication and Relationships

Enhancing the scope of communication enables people to stay in touch with loved ones who may not have otherwise been so accessible. Global figures indicate that migratory displacement is at an all-time high, families are separated across continents for long periods of time. The evolving nature of telecoms has enabled people to stay connected through multiple communication and social media platforms. 

3. Telecommunication and Education

Many well-established institutions are using telecommunications for distance learning programs. This provides global students with an opportunity to access high-quality education from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, these online courses offer students more flexibility if they wish to balance educational pursuits with a career.

4. Telecommunication and Healthcare

The development of technology in healthcare has enabled more frequent contact between patients and healthcare providers, more timely and accurate medical monitoring and improved management of data. The increasing level of collaboration has given patients a stronger, more consistent voice, which helps in the development of medical services.

5. Telecommunication and Environment

The changing landscape of communication has enabled us to raise  greater awareness for environmental issues. Telecommunications can make a direct contribution to the implementation of environmental programs to educate and inspire change in communities. Consistent local initiatives help align global incentives to improve environmental quality and human health.

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The 5G debate continues: a detriment to health or not?

Ranine Awwad

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The 5G debate continues a detriment to health or not

An international advocacy has been conducted against 5G technology deployment on social media under #Stop5G hashtag. Lawyers, scientists, doctors, and engineers have been engaging on a practical level.  By May 17, 2020, the 5G EMF Appeal was signed by 377 EU scientists and doctors. As of June 4, 2020, there are 291,307 signatories from 218 nations and territories on the international appeal to stop 5G on earth and in space. A current debate about the relation between 5G and Coronavirus might delay the technology’s deployment in many countries.

According to the  Physician’s Health Initiative for radiation and environment PHIRE, 5G uses higher RF frequencies and different modulation, with a higher amplitude, rapid data bursts which are expected to cause even greater cellular damage. RF can increase risk of cancer, nervous system disruption, reproductive impairment. Children are more vulnerable as are the elderly and pregnant.

More than 500 studies have found harmful health effects from exposure to RFR at intensities. Tom Butler, a Professor in Business Information Systems at University College Cork, Ireland said in a paper submitted on May 27, 2020, that “5G technologies also expose children and adults with low frequency, high frequency and extremely high-frequency RFR simultaneously”. According to Butler report, in medical and scientific terms, the skin does not form a barrier to extremely high-frequency RFR, it is permeable, it is a biological organ that protects the body, but is itself prone to infections and environmental influence. Also, the report referred to evidence for an association to cell phone RFR and neurological development for children in utero as well as the risk of spontaneous abortion.

In addition, the results obtained by a new study conducted by Bartomeu Payeras I Cifre, a biologist specializing in microbiology and working at the University of Barcelona, demonstrates a clear and close relationship between the rate of coronavirus infections and 5G antenna location. “The study does not analyze the beneficial or harmful effects on humans of 5G electromagnetic radiation. However, it does indicate a possible cause-effect in the current pandemic” Bartomeu said.

5G deployment undermines over 15 international agreements, treaties, and recommendations, including article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Action against 5G- a group of individuals, scientists, doctors, and engineers- are now leading a case against the UK government to force authorities take notice of the serious health, environmental and biological life implications of 5G technology. The group is supported by a team of lawyers headed by Michael Mansfield QC who has received the title “The King of Human Rights” by the Legal 500.

“Nothing other than a legal challenge will force a government to take notice; this is the only way to ensure the government engages with the issue” according to the group website. Experts warned of the serious implications of the combined exposure with existing radiation from GSM, 3G, Wi-Fi, 4G will cause serious damage to health.

The legal team sheds light on the fact of deploying 5G without the public’s consent. “This constitutes a breach of the 1947 Nuremberg Code of Ethics regarding human subject’s experimentation”. In March 2020, the European Commission published a report entitled “Effects of 5G wireless communication on human health”. “5G is an untested technology, a cautious approach would be prudent” according to the report.

Brussels has some of the most stringent radiation guidelines for telecom equipment in the world. The upgrade to 5G in Geneva and Brussels was postponed because it’s too difficult to measure the radiation exposure from it. 5G technology is not compatible with Belgian radiation safety standards. In fact, in April 2019, Environment and Energy Minister in Brussels Celine Fremault stated “I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizens, are not respected, 5G or not”. Back to 2018, Belgium Environmental and Health minister Celine Fremault and Belgium Telecom Minister Alexander De Croo asked for a technical study on whether 5G deployment could co-exist with Brussel’s current radiation rules of 6 volts per meter. Brussel’s rules are 50 times more strict than international standards.

In 2020, the International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has upgraded the 1998 guidelines. The ICNIRP 2020 includes a number of changes to ensure that new technologies such as 5G will not be able to cause harm. These changes include the addition of whole-body average restrictions for frequencies >6 GHz, restrictions for brief (<6 minutes) exposures for frequencies >6 GHz- and the reduction of the averaging area for frequencies >6 GHz. “A key feature of the 5G wireless standard is that it will use beam-forming technology, which allows for the RF EMFs to be focused on the region where it is needed, rather than being spread out over a large area”. Thus, fifth generation exposures will not cause any harm providing that they adhere to the ICNIRP 2020 guidelines.

On the other hand, in April 2020 the ICNIRP posted a statement entitled “COVID-19 and RF- EMF”. This statement discussed rumors that claim that exposure to the electromagnetic fields (IMF) generated by 5G devices can cause COVID-19 and increase its severity. According to the statement “There is no (not even extremely weak evidence) that EMF exposure from 5G devices causes COVID-19 or have any effect on the disease process or health outcomes of those who are infected by the new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19.”

However, The Court of Appeal of Turin recognized in a full judgment published on January 13, 2020 (904/2019 of Romeo v. INAIL) that telephone industry-funded scientists, or members of the ICNIRP, are less reliable than independent scientists. “Conflict of interest situations may arise in relation to the assessment of the effect of radio frequencies on health”. According to the Court, ICNIRP members have received direct or indirect funding from the industry.

On February 25, 2020, another lawsuit against 5G deployment was filed in the Netherlands. The Dutch Stop 5G group- Stop5GNetherlands- says that 5G deployment is a serious violation of human rights. The group claims that the Dutch government is hiding behind ICNIRP. On May 14, 2020, 24 Canadian groups drafted an appeal to the Government of Canada saying NO to 5G in their neighborhood.

China, recognized as the 5G leader in the world was the first country to be affected by Covid-19. Is it a sufficient argument to say that Covid-19 is caused by 5G? However, many countries affected by Covid-19 do not have 5G technology.

The World Health Organization said that Covid-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G. The pandemic cannot travel on radio waves/ mobile networks.

Technology implications related to health has always been under public scrutiny even at the time of 2G, 3G, and 4G. While the many theories out there do raise questions and concerns, more extensive (unbiased) research must be conducted to determine whether 5G poses greater health risks.

 

 

 

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Feature Articles

India’s growing production powerhouse

Inside Telecom Staff

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India’s growing production powerhouse

Issues between the United States and China continue, however other countries can be forgiven for wondering why they should be considered as helpless bystanders as the worlds two main superpowers go head-to-head in a battle over which of them should attain or retain dominance in the global telecommunications business.

Perhaps one of the most expected responses is that of India. The country will be exercising its leadership and also its dominance in its 1.3 billion consumer market.

To avoid finding itself on the wrong side as the tech trade war heats up, the Indian government says it is planning to motivate the big telecoms equipment manufacturers to move towards making all of the telecoms equipment that they provide for India’s giant telecoms operators inside the country. This will mean security of supply. Critics also say that another motivation is to lessen the possibility of spying by foreign intelligence services.

There is currently a mandate to buy local telecoms equipment in the case of BSNL, which is a state-run company, however international vendors point out that expanding local production would not make sense just to service one specific network. They would require further incentives.

At the moment the likes of Nokia and Ericsson are building telecom equipment in India for the Indian market however the amount of local content going into the finished product is only around 40%.

So mainly for reasons of security of supply in a broken telecoms world, the government says it wants to push that proportion to 100%. This may take time, of course, however India represents a vast and increasing market so it must be confident that the big players at least, will be content to display ‘made 100% in India’ stickers on their finished boxes in due course. One of these main vendors will include Huawei.

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is actually scheduled to meet with the vendors, to discuss how Indian telecoms equipment manufacturing in India can be expanded.

In the meantime, India is already launching major initiatives to boost electronics manufacturing including components distant from mobile phones. This year alone, it has approved three separate schemes – the Production Link Incentive Scheme for large-scale electronic manufacturing; the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors, and the Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters Scheme. The three schemes offer either cash incentives for sales goods that are manufactured in India; capital expenditure subsidy for electronic goods; and in the case of EMC 2.0, support for the development of “common facilities and amenities,” such as ready-built factory sheds for attracting major global electronics manufacturers.

It is predicted that these three schemes could result in smartphone and component production worth an amount of US$133 billion by 2025 and will more than likely attract global players like Samsung. Apple suppliers Foxconn and Wistron have already increased local production, due to India’s huge market of 1.3 billion people.

Globalisation rollback will not be going in one direction. The European Union has also announced that it is going full steam ahead on digital service provider platform regulations. This includes clipping the wings of Google, Facebook and Amazon. It has been on the agenda for several years and the United States government has not been slow to voice its opposition to such developments. Now the European Union has launched two consultations. The first is to update the e-commerce directive from 2000, and the other suggests new competition regulations to prevent the big digital platforms acting as gatekeepers to stymie European entrants.

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Feature Articles

4 ways 5G will change our lives

Karim Hussami

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4 ways 5G will change our lives

5G technology is being rolled out in many countries worldwide, and is expected to have a substantial impact on our lives. Here’s how it will change things.

1.  5G will change the way we shop for good – and will support the unprecedented shift in consumer behavior that was triggered by the health crisis. It offers high-performance, ultra-low latency networks that enable retailers to use immersive technologies such as AR to integrate the physical and digital worlds. This allows shoppers to try products virtually without the need to go to the store physically. The shopping experience will be enhanced with hyper-personalized digital experiences for customers, when in-store activity resumes.

2.  For the fact that 5G enables us to realize the potential of a fully connected world, it will push autonomous cars and drones more into the public space. 5G will give life to better and safer self-driving cars that will connect to other people, buildings, vehicles and street lights. Road safety will also benefit from a streamline system aided by 5G technology. Data collected from more IoT devices will be made possible which will expand a city’s ability to manage traffic flow, air quality, power use and public safety.

3.  Moving to more advanced forms of digital technology is a very important principle especially in regard to supply chain management. 5G will improve network speeds, simplify workflows among varying groups and will add new levels of end-to-end visibility on operations. Such improvements will translate into services that embody efficiency, quality and transparency for customers.

4.  Our trips to the doctor’s office may become a thing of the past as 5G facilitates virtual visits by low-latency, HD quality wireless networks. Telehealth services are being used more, since the start of the pandemic as it offers long distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, intervention and monitoring. With 5G technology, wearable or implanted medical devices will capture your vitals and transmit them more efficiently to health care providers, to allow them to detect early signs of heart attacks, strokes, or other life-threatening events.

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