@ mark simmons photography
The UK is set for a digital revolution, or so we are promised. 5G, the 5th generation purports to be a game-changing uplift in SPEED, RELIABILITY and COVERAGE; using higher mm microwave frequencies which can carry more data, more quickly into homes and businesses so they can benefit from this technology.
We are told it will involve new digital infrastructure with millions of small cells, phased array antennae placed on lamp posts, with relay base stations and thousands of satellites to boost the signals. The Government has also promised a £1bn deal with the telecom industry to expand the existing 4G network into 95% of rural areas by the end of 2025.
Altogether the plans claim to enable new ways of living with the Internet of Things, smart cities, smart meters, driverless cars, more entertainment, an improved Emergency Services Network etc, etc but…
… will we really benefit? We hear a lot about ‘upsides’, but what about the ‘downsides’? Do we know enough about the effects of all of this on us, on the environment, on wildlife? What are the dangers and the drawbacks? How safe is the tech? Or are we blindly sleep walking into disaster, dazzled by the lure of a digital revolution?
Fibre Action for Safer Telecoms Technology (FASTT)
we are a group of citizens concerned that the digital revolution should be based on SAFE technology.
Many of us have already been involved in local 5G campaigns, asking our local Councils to apply the precautionary principle and request a moratorium on the rollout. In January 2020 we decided to create FASTT.org.uk to push for the solution that we believe is a win-win: benefits of 5th Generation, without some of the dangers.
The choice is simple:-
- Wired communities, instead of
- Wireless/wifi everywhere
We believe that it is the widespread use of wireless and wifi that is main source of harm to all living beings – people, pets, wildlife, bees, trees. Wireless/wifi relies on pulsed signals which no living organism can adapt to. It is the shape of the signal that is the problem: it is not a smooth sine wave. This is a link to a study which explores how the ‘shape’ of certain frequencies can affect our emotional wellbeing. And this is a link to a study showing DNA damage caused by the variability of mobile phone signals, even at exposure limits below official guidelines.
Full fibre installations (FTTP fibre to the premises) using fibre optics, or copper coaxial cables, ethernet are the safer alternative. We recognise that copper coaxial cables are probably the safest option as fibre optics can ‘leak’. Jeromy Johnson, an engineer who used to work in Silicon Valley, explains what can happen with fibre optics and what to do if there is an issue. This is a link to his website and his TED talk is below. Much of the fibre optic network is also already in place and BT is having to make available its ‘dark fibre’, ie unused parts of its network, to other users.
The purpose of this website is to help guide you through the arguments, to bring clarity to what can be an overwhelming challenge. We want to expose the help, the harm … and the hype! This page is a summary of our understanding; other pages have more detail. If you only have time for a quick overview then this video of Frank Clegg, former president of Microsoft Canada, is a good introduction. Our Contacts page has additional useful links to other organisations.
|Speed & Reliability||Already faster and more reliable. Doesn’t fail in an emergency. Better quality of communication, especially for music||
5G mm waves too easily blocked by obstacles [link]. Hence need to remove trees
5G mm doesn’t work in the rain
Heavy traffic in an emergency would overwhelm wireless
4G will continue for voice comms anyway
|Safety – Health||No known hazards||
Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are classified as a ‘possible’ carcinogen [IARC Group 2B]
DNA damage; fertility loss; cancers, esp among children
Other side effects – eg constant nausea, headaches, nosebleeds, depression and even suicide
Worse for sufferers of electro-sensitivity [link]
Increase in ADHD in children
See Health page for more details
|Safety – Cyber Security||Cannot be hacked as easily. Cyber security is the reason that Armed Forces are hard wired||
Internet of Things is vulnerable to hacking.
Loss of personal control as data harvesting is easier for invisible corporations or even foreign countries to manipulate.
See Cyber Security page for more detail
|Wildlife||No known effects||
Loss of trees = further loss of habitat
Radiation from masts contributing to the dramatic decline in birds, bees and other insects
See Wildlife page for more details
|Costs & Energy Efficiency||
Much of the fibre network already in place. The BT cable network has unused ducts.
Wired uses less energy to function
5G mm waves are more energy intensive (big increase in carbon footprint). Where 5G antennae are placed on lamp posts, Local Authorities will incur greater energy costs.
The whole rollout will involve increased obsolescence and more waste for landfill
Rural areas are being denied fibre on grounds of cost, and will have more masts
Anecdotal evidence of electricity costs rising after smart meters have been installed
Not eco – more rare earths will be mined from fragile sites around the World (eg lithium from Chile, coltan from the Congo). And for more reasons why not eco, read this blog
Jeromy Johnson TEDxBerkeley talk
Jeromy has an advanced degree in Civil Engineering and by 2016 had worked in Silicon Valley for 15 years. After becoming what medical doctors call “Electro-hypersensitive” (EHS) in 2011 after extensive exposure to EMF radiation, he embarked on a journey of regaining his own health and educating others to critically evaluate theirs.
Dr. Schoechle is a global expert on wired fibre networks. He is a member of the standards board of the IEEE, a former faculty member of the University of Colorado College of Engineering and Applied Science and a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Law and Public policy. Dr Schoechle is the author of the Institute’s ‘Reinventing Wires – the future of landlines and networks‘, a publication written for policy makers; particularly members of the US Congress and legislators across the US. His book is available as a free download: link to pdf.
Below is a talk he gave in Victoria, British Columbia, on 3rd July 2019 –